Lumaajuuq and Bear Facts double-nominated at the Yorkton Festival!

Exciting news! The animation I did with the NFB called Lumaajuuq, has been nominated for two awards at the Yorkton Film Festival.

mother curses her own son blind with dirty whale fat

Click on this link to see the list of nominated films:

My husband’s animation, Bear Facts, is also double-nominated! We’re competing against each other in one of the categories, hahah.

vote for your favourite documentary!

Wow, this is a list of seriously excellent documentaries. Tough choice, but I have to say Last Train Home by Lixin Fan is now one of my favourite docs ever. Killer list, I haven’t seen them all but I plan to! Click on the link to see the list and vote:

To learn more about the film and/or the people that made it, go to:

Props to 280 Productions

OMG. These 280P guys are SO funny! And nerdy but in a super cool way! How have I never seen these videos before? This is true Inuk humour, anyone from Nunavut will be rolling on the floor after watching their Christmas Games comedy skit.

After you watch that and have a good laugh, make sure to click on ALL their videos. They also do (slightly) more serious current affairs issues. I was so happy to see young Inuit get into media, and talking about world politics with a sense of humour. Way to go guys, keep it up! Ajunngittusi!

Stories From Our Land

The “Stories From Our Land” workshop by Nunavut Film and the NFB was great. Meeting Cordell Barker (Oscar nominated animator) was not only super cool, but very informative. I learned from him the expression “Kill your baby.” It’s not as evil as it sounds, and it’s a very useful expression to know and remind yourself of.

When you’re making a film, you have all these grand ideas. Some of them are good, some of them are not. Inevitably, no matter how many good ideas you have, you can’t fit them all into your film. You might have a brilliant little idea that’s really funny, powerful, emotional, etc. But if it doesn’t help move forward the overall story of your film, you can’t use it.  Sometimes, these ideas you think are brilliant are really hard to let go of, and can hold you back from making the right choices for your story. On every project, you have to drop a few of these ideas that you were so attached to, and it really can feel like you’re betraying and killing your baby. It’s the really cynical and dark sense of humour of filmmaking.

There was also a really good “producing 101” lecture by Daniel Cross of EyeSteelFilm. The lessons I learned there are:

1) Stay on top of your finances on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You should know exactly where you stand at the end of each day, week and month. NEVER be lazy or too busy to do this.

2) You have to deliver the film you told your funders you were going to make. You can’t just change your project without coming to an agreement with funders first.

3) You have to religiously keep up with your reporting and do it properly.

Now that I’m writing this, it seems so very simple and obvious. However, those three things are SO much easier said than done. I’m at the end of my first long-form documentary, and I’m struggling to get all my financial reporting together and finished, and it’s so hard to remember what every little receipt and scrap of paper was for exactly, or even which project it’s for.  ARGH!

Take it from me. Start small. Do a few short films first. Even if you’ve directed, or been crew on productions, when it comes to producing, start with a project that’s small and manageable.

Click here to see an article about the workshops:

NFB and Nunavut Film take renowned filmmakers to Nunavut

Alethea’s Tunniit Documentary to Play at the Astro Theatre in Iqaluit

For those of you that live in Iqaluit, my documentary Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos is premiering at the Astro Theatre this coming Sunday at 5PM!

It’s different from the one that’s been broadcast on APTN, it’s the full Inuktitut version, with English subtitles so both unilingual Inuit and Qallunaat can understand the Thanks to Nunavut Film, the National Film Board and APTN for sponsoring this screening. I’m very excited as it’s the first theatrical screening of my first solo documentary!

Thanks to Nunavut Film, the National Film Board and APTN for sponsoring this screening.

Lumaajuuq wins award at imagineNATIVE!

Lumaajuuq curses her own son blind with dirty whale fat

Unfortunately today (well, yesterday now that it’s after midnight) I had to leave the imagineNATIVE festival a few hours early to catch my flight to Ottawa, so i could get home in time to prepare for the world broadcast premiere of my first solo feature doc, Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos on APTN.

Three canceled flights and several delays later, after NINE hours of sitting around the Toronto Island airport, I’ve arrived in Ottawa at 2AM.  Okay, I’m very used to flight delays and cancellations when I travel within Nunavut, but this is the first time I’ve had a flight canceled out of Toronto due to weather!!! The fog didn’t even look that bad to me… I swear a pilot with Canadian or First Air would have been able to handle that amount of fog, Hehehe. Oh well, at least I’ll still catch my morning flight back to Iqaluit, even if I do look like a zombie.

Anyways, I received a nice surprise when I got a text message from Rob Lackie (Labrador Inuk on the board of the imagineNATIVE festival) congratulating me on my win for “best Canadian short drama” for Lumaajuuq, the animation I did with the NFB and IBC. I didn’t know I was up for the award, so I was really surprised and happy. Then I was really annoyed with myself for not sticking around for the last few hours of the festival, especially since my flight was canceled anyway!

Thanks again to the imagineNATIVE fest for taking such good care of us, and a huge thanks for the award. I’ve worked on other award winning productions, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever personally gotten an award for my very own project.  🙂

A big old fat squishy hug and shout out goes to Dan Gies who did such amazing animation and music, and kudos for the fantastic narration work by Rachel Whitewind (english version) and Beatrice Deer (inuktitut version). And of course thanks to the NFB, IBC and the Banff Centre for giving me the opportunity to tell the story of the blind boy and the loon.


p.s. I look forward to someday doing a full animated series on the same story. It’s a huge epic legend, and although I was able to squeeze a small section of it into my short animation, it really needs to be done on a full scale to give it the treatment it deserves. Someday… when we have more trained Inuit animators and production crew to be able to make it happen.

Alethea at imagineNATIVE

I’ve been hearing about the imagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto for years. I really wanted to go the last couple of years, but was either shooting or editing on a film and couldn’t go. This year, I decided come hell or high water, I am going to imagineNATIVE!!! I’ve been to several film festivals now around the world, and I figured it’s time to check out this amazing aboriginal film festival in my own country.

Imagine (pardon the pun) my surprise when I found out that the festival wanted to show two of my short films! One of my short films is “Lumaajuuq – The Blind Boy and the Loon”, which is an animation that I did with the National Film Board of Canada, and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation:

The other is “Inuit High Kick”, a super-slow-motion short film I did with Inuit Communication Systems Ltd.

This festival was KICKASS, and I highly recommend it to other aboriginal filmmakers. Everybody was so tunnganaq (welcoming), it felt like hanging out with family, and it was so easy to meet new people and get to know each other. The panels were very informative, and I learned a lot from hearing about other filmmakers creative processes. I actually got to see some fantastic films, which is surprisingly hard to do sometimes at film festivals, because you get so busy with meetings and panels, pitching, etc. EVERYBODY has to see Boy, a film by Taika Waititi. If you love Flight of the Conchords, you’ll love Boy. Also, Zacharias Kunuk’s new film Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change is (as always) ground-breaking and mind blowing. Kudos to Zach and Ian Mauro for a film that’s going to shake up the scientific world.

Tunnittaarumajunga – I want to get face tattoos

My name is Alethea-Ann Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril, and I’m from Iqaluit, Nunavut. I’m making a documentary film about my personal journey to research traditional Inuit tattoos before I get them.

In my dialect of Inuktitut:

“kakiniit” means “tattoos”

“tunniit” means “women’s face tattoos”

This coming August, I will be getting tunniit. I’ve been trying to research Inuit tattooing for years now, but there is very very little existing research about this topic, so it can be quite frustrating. I’ve done a few elder interviews over the last couple of years (in Rankin Inlet, Arviat and Clyde River), but I’m about to travel all over Nunavut in the next month and a half to interview as many elders as I can about traditional tattoos. It’s taken almost 4 years to get the funding together to go on this trip, and now I’m FINALLY ready to start traveling! I leave this week.

My first stop is IGLOOLIK!!! I’m so excited. After that, I plan to go to Pond Inlet, then I head west to Kugluktuk, Kuugaaruk, Taloyoak, and Gjoa Haven. I want to squeeze in a trip to Baker Lake as well, but I’m not sure if the flight schedules will allow me to do that. I’m also really hoping to go to Inuvik to meet two women who already have face tattoos, but I’m not sure if my budget and schedule will allow that either.

Wish me luck!