Alethea Arnaquq-Baril – Canada/2016 – 82 MIN
In Inuktitut & English w/ English subtitles
1:00pm, SUNDAY, November 6 St. Andrew’s Church – $10/Donation
Ame Papatsie – Canada/2010 – 5 Min
Presented by OPIRG Guelph
Hosts Tauni Sheldon and Ame Papatsie will lead a post-film discussion with Ruth Buchanan as MC
Seal hunting, a critical part of Inuit life, has been controversial for a long time. Now, a new generation of Inuit, armed with social media and their own sense of humour and justice, are challenging the anti-sealing groups and bringing their own voices into the conversation. Director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins her fellow Inuit activists as they challenge outdated perceptions of the Inuit and present themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy.
Angry Inuk is about how Inuit hunters in tiny remote communities in the high arctic are negatively affected by animal rights groups protesting against the Canadian east coast seal hunt that happens a thousand kilometres away.
Throughout history, Inuit have been stereotypically portrayed as docile, jolly and without much capacity for anger and confrontation. While it is true that Inuit traditionally tended to convey anger in a quiet way, and used humour to diffuse confrontational situations, the “western world” (though Inuit call it the “southern world”) has misunderstood this to mean we have less capacity for anger. In reality, southerners have simply misunderstood the signs of our anger and displeasure for generations. We hope to make a humourous yet thoughtful and respectful film about this complicated and controversial subject.
In her film Angry Inuk, Inuit director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins a new tech-savvy generation of Inuit as they campaign to challenge long-established perceptions of seal hunting. Though most commercial sealing is conducted by Inuit in the Arctic, anti-sealing activism has created a perception of the industry that denies their central role in the sealskin market. To reinsert themselves into the international discussion, these Inuit activists must inconvenience the fundraising campaigns of animal groups by using all the tricks in the social media book, and invent some of their own along the way, like “sealfies.” Seal meat is a staple food for Inuit, and many of the pelts are sold to offset the extraordinary cost of hunting. Inuit are spread across extensive lands and waters, and their tiny population is faced with a disproportionate responsibility for protecting the environment. They are pushing for a sustainable way to take part in the global economy, but in opposition stands an army of well-funded activists and well-meaning celebrities.
Anti–seal hunting campaigns have attracted high profile supporters, and with them, hefty financial contributions. From Pamela Anderson to Paul McCartney, celebrities have voiced their outrage about an issue they seem keenly unqualified to discuss. Meanwhile, seal hunters are unjustly targeted for traditional practices that have supported them for centuries. With a way of life on the cusp of extinction, who’s really at fault? How does a culture that exercises understated anger and finds peaceful ways to resolve conflict compete with animal activist groups that rely on anti-sealing sentiment they aggressively cultivate to underwrite their other causes? Alethea Arnaquq-Baril uses her filmmaking skills to organize and embolden a new tech-savvy generation of Inuit to stand up for their rights. Establishing #sealfie on Instagram and skillfully employing social media, they lobby legislators and expose misinformation while staying true to their values in their fight for survival.
A short film by Ame Papatsie created on leather with stop motion technique. It is about a little boy getting nabbed by a sea monster, an old Inuit legend that has taught us not to go on the shoreline. The filmmaker has always wanted to make this film since he was a child.
Hosts: Tauni Sheldon and filmmaker Ame Papatsie
Tauni Sheldon is a local Inuit from Acton will lead a post-film discussion.
Moderator: Ruth Buchanan
Ruth Buchanan is a professor at Osgoode Hall School of Law, York University and a Guelph Film Festival board member. Buchanan has research and teaching interests in the areas of law and development, international human rights, international economic law, critical legal theory, and law and film. Her work frequently engages with issues of legal pluralism, resistance and affect.