Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 2, 2001 - Issue 37



Iqaluit Welcomes Cannes Winner


by CBC North News


Scriptwriter Paul Apak Angilirq with director Zacharias Kunuk on the set of Atanarjuat during the first shoot in 1998.
Photo: Marie-Helene Cousineau © Igloolik Isuma Productions

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT - Filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk returned to a hero's welcome in Nunavut.

Kunuk won the Golden Camera award last weekend for first-time directors at the international Cannes Film Festival in France.

He won the award for the film: "Atanarjuat The Fast Runner".

Kunuk was met at the Iqaluit airport by well-wishers from the public and numerous organizations.

Kunuk says people keep telling him they're grateful he made the film, but he remains modest.

"Thank you, thank you for making it, thank you for letting us realize what life is all about," he said. "I'm just a tool for my people, everyone could have done it. I'm just the one that is doing it."

"Atanarjuat" is the story of two Inuit brothers who challenge the rule of an evil shaman.

Release from the Government of Nunavut:
At the closing ceremonies of the international Cannes Film Festival in France, Zacharias Kunuk of Igloolik was awarded the Camera dOr prize for the best first-time director for his work on Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner.

Taking five years to complete, Atanarjuat is the first feature-length film shot completely in Inuktitut using Inuit actors and crew. It was released several months ago to rave reviews and earned the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. It has been instrumental in building a northern filmmaking industry.

Through his work, Mr. Kunuk has exposed the world to the culture and language of Inuit. In fact, in accepting the award, Mr. Kunuk spoke Inuktitut.

Atanarjuat-The Fast Runner
Atanarjuat is Canada's first feature-length fiction film written, produced, directed, and acted by Inuit. An exciting action thriller set in ancient Igloolik, the film unfolds as a life-threatening struggle between powerful natural and supernatural characters.




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