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Arts

Film based on work of YK artist to debut at northern film festival


A short film based on the graphic work of Yellowknife-based Inuk artist Germaine Arnattaujuq will premiere at the Available Light Film Festival this week. 

Arnattaujuq co-directed the six-minute short titled Arctic Song, which depicts Inuit creation stories including how the land, sea and sky came to be. 

“I’m happy,” she said of the film.

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“I expect people to find that little animation interesting and hopefully people enjoy it.”

Arnattaujuq, who is originally from Iglulik, Nunavut, has lived in Yellowknife for more than 30 years. 

An image from Arctic Song shows a polar bear trying to elude dogs by escaping into the night sky. Image courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada
An image from Arctic Song shows a giant walking across the land. Image courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada

She is known for her artwork which depicts Inuit culture, legends and stories. Her silkscreen design The Drummer was chosen by the Royal Canadian Mint for the two-dollar coin to celebrate the birth of Nunavut in 1999, and she won a governor general’s award in visual and media arts in February 2021.

“Art is my world and I don’t do anything else.” she said. 

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A collection of Arnattaujuq’s work which celebrates Inuit femininity and beauty with a focus on tunniit, or Inuit tattoos, is currently on display at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre until May 29. 

The Available Light Film Festival, based in the Yukon, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a mix of online and in-person screenings and events, including more than 40 Indigenous-led films. It is billed as Canada’s largest film festival North of 60.

This year’s online offerings include 38 features, more than 60 short films, artist talks and an industry series. All online films will be available to viewers in the Yukon and the NWT. 

Andrew Connors, artistic director for the Yukon Film Society and the film festival’s director, said two other films from the NWT will screen at the Available Light Film Festival this year. The High Road is a 15-minute short by Keith Robertson about Yellowknife resident Dwayne Wohlgemuth’s journey hiking North America’s longest esker. Food For The Rest of Us, directed by Carolyn Cox, explores the power of food as community activism.

“I think that Northwest Territories folks, they can enjoy this festival the same way that they enjoy the Yellowknife Interantional Film Festival,” Connors said. “There’s more than 90 films, so there’s a lot to choose from.” 

The film festival runs from February 11 to February 28.

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