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.
Born in 1957 in a sod house on Baffin Island, Zacharias Kunuk was a carver in 1981 when he sold three sculptures in Montreal to buy a home-video camera and 27” TV to bring back to Igloolik, Nunavut, a community which had voted twice to refuse access to outside television due to lack of Inuktitut programming. Kunuk co-founded Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. in 1990 with Paul Apak Angilirq, Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn. In addition to the 2001 feature Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, Kunuk has directed more than 30 documentaries and feature films including The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, Maliglutit (Searchers), and the 7-part documentary series Hunting With My Ancestors. He was also executive producer on SGaaway K’uuna (Edge of The Knife), the world’s first Haida-language feature film which premiered at TIFF last year. In 2019, Kunuk, Cohn, and the Isuma collective were chosen to represent Canada at the 58th Biennale di Venezia with One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk as its main video installation along with a new live documentary series called…