Inuit and Film at the NFB 1942-2006 and Public Screenings in Nunavut
In 2005, I was commissioned by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to research and create an index of every film made by the National Film Board of Canada, about or depicting Inuit or their land. This is an excerpt from the forward of that index printed in 2006:
Many films in the index address the power of the moving image and its importance to Inuit. Magic in the Sky (1981) and Starting Fire with Gun Powder (1991) discuss the impacts of television, film and video directly while many others such as Between Two Worlds (1990) and Through These Eyes (2004) allude to the necessity of not only harnessing the power of the image, but also understanding how the moving image has shaped and recorded representations of Inuit throughout a tremendously fast and momentous period of cultural change. Unlike the colonization of other aboriginal peoples of Canada, the period of Inuit colonization has been recorded on film. Film history and significant Inuit cultural change began at approximately the same time and this means that Inuit can use cinema as a tool for reconstructing and deconstructing their own history.
In partnership with this project, Vinnie Karetak and I travelled to three Nunavut communites to screen a selection of films that had never before been shown there. There were elders who saw themselves on screen as teenagers, youth who saw relatives they had never known. These films had been made of the North, for an audience in the South.