Norman Cohn


Norman Cohn's picture

Norman Cohn (b. 1946, New York) is a video artist and filmmaker, and president and co-founder with Zacharias Kunuk of Kunuk Cohn Productions, co-founder of Isuma Distribution International and IDI's website IsumaTV. A Canadian citizen since 1981, Cohn lived and worked in Igloolik from 1985-2005. In 1990, as one of four founding partners of Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. with Kunuk, elder Pauloosie Qulitalik and the late Paul Apak, Cohn's early video work helped develop Isuma’s signature style of ‘re-lived' cultural drama, combining the authenticity of modern activist video with the ancient art of Inuit storytelling.

Cohn is producer, co-writer and cameraman for the Cannes-winning feature, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, the Nunavut (Our Land) TV series and most of Isuma’s collective videography through 2005; co-director with Zacharias Kunuk on The Journals of Knud Rasmussen which opened the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, and the 2014 non-fiction feature, Ataatama Nunanga (My Father's Land), on the 2012 Baffinland Iron Mine Environmental Assessment Public Hearings. Cohn led creation of IsumaTV's website starting in 2007 and was co-director with Zacharias Kunuk of Digital Indigenous Democracy from 2012-14 using new media to inform and consult Inuit to improve democratic participation in the Baffinland Iron Mine environmental review. Before moving to Igloolik in 1985 Cohn’s solo video exhibition, Norman Cohn: Portraits, opened in 1983 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Musee des arts contemporain and 49th Parallel Gallery in NY. Cohn's experimental non-fiction feature, Quartet for Deafblind (1986), was selected for Dokumenta 8 in Kassel, Germany. Winner of a 1990 Guggenheim Fellowship to assist his work in Igloolik with Kunuk, Cohn was co-winner with Kunuk of the 1994 Bell Canada Award for Outstanding Achievement in Video Art. Most recently, Kunuk, Cohn and the 30-year ISUMA media art group were selected to represent Canada in the 2019 Venice Biennale, presenting My Father's Land and their newest feature, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, to over 300,000 visitors to the Canada Pavilion in Venice from May through November 2019.

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