Born in 1957 in a sod house on Baffin Island, Zacharias Kunuk was a whalebone carver in 1981 when he sold three sculptures in Montreal to buy a home video camera and 27” TV to bring back to Igloolik, a settlement of 500 Inuit who twice had voted to refuse outside television. Kunuk worked six years for Inuit Broadcasting Corporation as producer and station manager, and then co-founded Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. in 1990 with Paul Apak, Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn. Besides Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, Kunuk has directed more than 30 videos screened in film festivals, theatres, museums and art galleries throughout Canada and around the world. He has honorary doctorates from Trent University and Wilfried Laurier University; is winner of the Cannes Camera d’or, two Genie Awards, a National Arts Award, National Aboriginal Achievement Award and in 2005 was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.
In 2019 Zacharias Kunuk together with the Isuma collective represented Canada, in the 58th Venice Biennale.