Stories from Our Land

Sunday, March 23 / 2:30 pm @ Cinematheque

Introduced by Alicia Smith and Nyla Innuksuk

There’s a lot happening in the Arctic. Canadians are talking about environmental, geopolitical, military and cultural issues, and Stories from Our Land adds engaging voices to the discussion. This National Film Board initiative gave Nunavut filmmakers the opportunity to create a 5-minute short that followed a couple of key guidelines: each film had to be made without the use of interviews or narration, and it had to tell a northern story from a northern perspective.

Taking Shape

Taking Shape / Directed by Sarah McNair-Landry, 2014, Canada, 12 min / This film follows the transformation of a stone as it’s meticulously carved into a beautiful piece of Inuit art. Inuit have always had a strong connection with the land, and that connection continues to show through the art that they make. The local carvers, whose ancestors once depended on the land to hunt, now depend on this local organic rock as income.

Inngiruti – The Thing that Sings! / Directed by Nyla Innuksuk, 2012, Canada, 5 min / In Pangnirtung, two elders reminisce about the dances held in their community 50 years ago. One of the elders is master accordion player Simeonie Keenainak, and pretty soon he is making toe-tapping music with his instrument. In this celebration of the pleasures of music and dance, Keenainak plays for the enjoyment of friends, family and the community at large.


Nippaq / Directed by Qajaaq Ellsworth, 2011, Canada, 3 min / Hunter Joshua Atagooyuk stands by a seal’s breathing hole. He hunches over, silent, waiting. The sun crosses the sky, hours pass, yet Atagooyuk remains, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Tide / Directed by Ericka Chemko, 2012, Canada, 4 min / A beautiful short film that captures the majesty of ice sculpted by wind and water. Time-lapse imagery reveals the dynamic intertidal dance of water and ice in the Arctic.

Family Making Sleds / Directed by Rosie Bonnie Ammaaq, 2012, Canada, 5 min / A man threads rope through runners and slats, expertly tying the knots that hold them together. Meanwhile, a woman and her child cut up cardboard, shaping and decorating the pieces to create their own stylized sleds. Family Making Sleds is an homage to the skill of building sleds that also captures the sheer joy of using them to race downhill.

If You Want to Get Married… You Have to Learn How to Build an Igloo! / Directed by Allen Auksaq, 2011, Canada, 5 min / In the spirit of the 1949 NFB classic How to Build an Igloo, this film records Dean Ittuksarjuat as he constructs the traditional Inuit home. From the first cut of the snow knife, to the carving of the entrance after the last block of snow has been placed on the roof, this is an inside-and-out look at the entire fascinating process.

Presented in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada