About the Film
After completing “Atanarjuat The Fast Runner,” set in the mythological past in a community whose balance of life had not changed for 4,000 years, Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn chose to depict a series of events that took place in 1922, when Shamanism was replaced by Christianity – and the balance of life was changed forever.
Kunuk was inspired to make the film for “a first audience that is Inuit: elders who are still alive and young people looking for a future beyond boredom, unemployment and suicide. It tries to answer two questions that haunted me my whole life: Who were we? And what happened to us?”
Cohn adds “If the Inuit of “The Fast Runner” ended up in church, then the Inuit depicted in the “The Journals of Knud Rasmussen” have ended up in today’s headlines, all too often living desperate lives on the margins of society.”
For the team at Igloolik Isuma Productions, the best result of making “The Fast Runner,” was that many Inuit in the community discovered great things could be accomplished today through the same collaboration and teamwork on which the very survival of their people had once depended. The central rule of life, anchored in collaborative community effort, had not often been demonstrated since the changeover took place in 1922.
Igloolik Isuma’s mission begins and ends with the community.
“We believe happy people should not worry about hidden things. Our spirits are offended if we think too much.” - Avva
The words of the last great Iglulik shaman, Avva, and his life story, were recorded by the Danish adventurer Knud Rasmussen on his 5th Thule Expedition across the Canadian Arctic.
Avva followed ancestral rules and taboos because they worked to protect human kind. They came out of life and were turned toward life.