Seal hunting is integral to Inuit culture. Embedded in their millenary tradition, this activity is not only important for food supplies and material necessities; it also plays a central role in social life and identity. Monetary income is indispensable for survival in the contemporary world and as such, profits from sealskin sales have become essential for many Inuit families, serving as a sustainable means of participating in the global economy. However, intense anti-sealing activism undertaken by high profile NGOs and celebrities since the 1960s have promoted an indiscriminately negative image of this industry. As a result, consequent bans on seal-skin products implemented by the EU caused the seal-skin market to collapse, which had devastating effects on Inuit communities. By portraying the quiet anger of Inuit hunters and artisans, as well as the engagement of younger generations, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril raises her voice through filmmaking and social media to confront the preconceptions around Inuit sealing that are affecting her people’s very subsistence and to gain back their place in the global economy.
Documentary form85 min · Colour
Inuk filmmaker from the Canadian Arctic, where her production company, Unikkaat Studios, is based. She directed among others the hypnotic short Inuit High Kick and the award-winning NFB animation Lumaajuuq: The Blind Boy and the Loon. Her short Aviliaq: Entwined is part of the Embargo Project, a collaboration of female Indigenous filmmakers. For her documentary Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos, she travelled across the Arctic to speak with elders about Inuit tattoo practices and the causes of their near-disappearance – before getting her own traditional face tattoos.Filmography
2009 Lumaajuuq 2010 Tunnit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos 2011 Sloth 2014 Aviliaq: Entwined, The Embargo Project 2016 Angry Inuk
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017
National Film Board of Canada