For the International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 Conference, Montreal launch of the National Film Board of Canada’s Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories

by NationTalk on April 18, 2012531 Views

Montreal, April 17, 2012 – The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) launches the Montreal premiere of its landmark Inuit audiovisual legacy project, Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories, to coincide with the International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 Conference taking place in Montreal April 22 to 27. This premiere follows last fall’s tour, which launched the initiative throughout Canada’s Inuit regions. From April 26 to 28, visitors to the NFB’s CineRobotheque will have a chance to discover Inuit culture by taking part in a gamut of free activities and screenings that showcase Nunavik. Filmmakers, artisans and special guests will be attending, and each screening will follow a presentation by the Inuit multidisciplinary artist Aaju Peter. In parallel to these activities open to the public, the NFB will take part in the IPY conference, including in teachers’ workshops entitled PolarEDUCATORSWorkshop. The Montreal launch of Unikkausivut takes place in collaboration with IPY, Adventure Canada, Cruise North Expeditions and the Avataq Cultural Institute.Free public program at the CineRobotheque: April 26 to 28

Each screening will be followed by a discussion with the guest directors and preceded by a presentation by multidisciplinary artist Aaju Peter. Attendees will also have a chance to taste free Arctic herbal teas offered by the Avataq Cultural Institute.

Thursday, April 26: 7 p.m.
Si le temps le permet ( If the Weather Permits) by Elisapie Isaac (NFB, 2003, 27 min 51 s)
The film will be shown before and after screenings of shorts from the Unikkausivut collection, with the director in attendance.

Elisapie Isaac is a young Nunavik-born filmmaker. In this film she reaches deep into the heart of her roots, returning to the village of Kangirsujuaq, where she interviews elders and young people about the ability to live daily life between traditional and modern ways. She wonders if Inuit culture can survive in today’s world.

Friday, April 27: 7 p.m.
Tusarnituuq! Nagano au pays des Inuits by Félix Lajeunesse (Catbird Productions, 2009, 52 min, original version in French, English and Inuktitut with French subtitles)
With director and producer Katarina Soukoup in attendance.

September 2008. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) under Kent Nagano undertakes the first ever Canadian Arctic tour. Under the baton of Maestro Nagano, the MSO plays selections from the classical repertoire and compositions inspired by traditional Inuit music.

Saturday, April 28

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Unikkausivut – A selection of short Inuit films for the entire family.
Followed by:
Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Unikaat Studios Inc., 2010, 50 min, in English and Inuktitut with English subtitles)

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s new film retraces the origins of Inuit tattoos, long banned by whites. The screening will be followed by a meeting with multidisciplinary artist Aaju Peter, who also participated in the film and will share her knowledge of Inuit culture and art. (Discussion in English.)

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Lights! Camera! Action! Animate your own Inukshuk
The CineRobotheque will initiate visitors in the art of stop-motion animation, teaching them how to create their own film by making a giant Inukshuk come alive. An activity the whole family will thoroughly enjoy!

7 p.m.
Martha qui vient du froid ( Martha of the North) by Marquise Lepage (Les Productions Virage Inc., 2009, 83 min)
The director will be in attendance.

In the mid-1950s, lured by false promises of a better life, Inuit families were displaced by the Canadian government and left to their own devices in the Far North. In this icy desert realm, Martha Flaherty and her family lived through one of Canadian history’s most sombre and little-known episodes.

NFB participation at IPY conference

In addition to the activities at the CineRobotheque, the NFB will participate in the IPY conference, in particular the workshops for teachers—PolarEDUCATORSWorkshop—from April 20 to 22 at Montreal’s Biodome. The NFB will share its experience in film education for young people by using its Inuit collection Unikkausivut and CAMPUS, its new website designed for teachers, and will also present Unikkausivut and CAMPUS at the Palais des congrès.

Unikkausivut’s Web component

To coincide with the Montreal launch of the Unikkausivut collection, the NFB will increase its Web content by an additional 20 films, bringing to more than 60 the total number of free Inuit films accessible online at

About Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories

Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories is an NFB initiative in collaboration with the Inuit Relations Secretariat of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Government of Nunavut, Department of Education, with the support of Inuit organizations. Our shared objective is to make a lasting contribution to the promotion of Inuit culture by providing Inuit communities with increased accessibility to their audiovisual heritage and affording all Canadians the opportunity to discover the traditions, culture, values and points of view of the northern peoples, who have shaped the history of Canada and continue to shape contemporary Canadian society.

The films of Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories can be seen in French, English and Inuktitut, i.e., in one of the four dialects corresponding to one of the four Inuit regions (Nunavut, Nunavik, Inuvialuit and Nunatsiavut) in which they were made.

Inuit Advisory Committee

An advisory committee comprised of representatives of key Inuit organizations has helped to ensure that Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories reflects the interests of all Inuit regions. The committee members included Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Nunatsiavut Government’s Torngâsok Cultural Centre, Makivik Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Avataq Cultural Institute, Pauktuutit – Inuit Women of Canada, as well as the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. Martha Flaherty, Peter Irniq and Zebedee Nungak acted as advisors throughout the project’s development.

About the NFB

Canada’s public producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates interactive works, social-issue documentaries, auteur animation and alternative dramas that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is developing the entertainment forms of the future in groundbreaking interactive productions, while pioneering new directions in 3D stereoscopic film, community-based media, and more. It works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. Over 2,000 NFB productions can be streamed online, at the Screening Room as well as via partnerships with the world’s leading video portals, while the NFB’s growing family of apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV delivers the experience of cinema to Canadians everywhere.



Pat Dillon, NFB Publicist
Telephone: 514-283-9411
Cell: 514-206-1750

Lily Robert, Director of Corporate Communications, NFB
Telephone: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261

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