Aariĝaa means “so cool” or “so good” in Inuvialuktun. It’s also the name of Inuvik’s first film festival, which will feature films from across all three territories over July 20-22.

“It’s an expression of joy, of happiness,” said Dez Loreen, the Aariĝaa Film Festival’s director. He wanted a name reflective of the free festival that people could easily pronounce.

Loreen entered the Dead North Film Festival for the first time six years ago. He told Cabin Radio he returned thinking Inuvik had its Great Northern Arts Festival and Arctic Image Festival, but no such event for northern filmmakers to show off their talent.

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“I thought to myself, ‘If I don’t do something then someone else will,’” he said. Loreen was well-positioned to take on the challenge — his day job is manager at the Inuvialuit Communications Society (ICS), the production company hosting the event.

“I made some calls and got some really big films from all across the North,” he continued.

On Friday night the festival will show Angry Inuk and So That You Can Stand, while on Saturday it features The Sun At Midnight, the first feature film made in the Northwest Territories.

“If you can make it out for one night, come on the Friday, and that will convince you to come out for the rest of the weekend,” said Loreen, who hopes the festival will inspire as much as it is meant to entertain.

“We want to get more people in film. Since I’ve started here [at the Inuvialuit Communications Society], I’ve overseen half a dozen productions of short films made by youth in the community of all levels,” he said.

“We’ve seen comedies, we’ve seen dramas — it’s really cool to see, because that’s what I’ve wanted since I started making short films: to get more people into it here, and it’s happening.”

The festival includes four workshops, all free, on photography, lighting, post-production and promotion, and writing short films on a budget.

The schedule for screenings can be found on the festival’s Facebook page, while the schedule for workshops will be released next week. All screenings take place at the ICS building.