Winner of the the RAI President’s Award 2021. It is given by the RAI Film Committee each festival to a film of truly exceptional merit that addresses issues of great contemporary importance and concern in anthropology or archaeology.
In April 1961, John Kennedy is America’s new President, the Cold War heats up in Berlin and nuclear bombers are deployed from bases in arctic Canada. In Kapuivik, north Baffin Island, Noah Piugattuk’s nomadic Inuit band live and hunt by dog team as his ancestors did when he was born in 1900. When the white man known as Boss arrives at Piugattuk’s hunting camp, what appears as a chance meeting soon opens up the prospect of momentous change. Boss is an agent of the government, assigned to get Piugattuk to move his band to settlement housing and send his children to school so they can get jobs and make money. But Kapuivik is Piugattuk’s homeland. He takes no part in the Canadian experience and cannot imagine what his children would do with money.
For decades, Zacharias Kunuk has been one of the most exciting, dynamic, and innovative filmmakers in Canada, and indeed the world. His award-winning “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner” (2001) won the prestigious Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. With this film, the first feature film produced entirely in Inuktitut, Kunuk introduced an Inuit film language that combined myth, history, and folklore as key elements. He was a co-founder of Igloolik Isuma Productions, Canada’s first independent Inuit production company and in 2008, helped launch IsumaTV, the world’s first website for Indigenous media art, now showing over 6,000 films and videos in 84 languages.
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Also see: Zacharias Kunuk in conversation with Faye Ginsburg: Recorded Q&A about the RAI President’s Award-winning film, “One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk” (2019)