Atanarjuat The Fast Runner


Zacharias Kunuk's picture

by Zacharias Kunuk

31 December 2009


Inuit epic set in ancient Igloolik, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner is a life-threatening struggle of love, jealousy, murder and revenge between powerful natural and supernatural characters, Canada's first feature film written, produced, directed, and acted by Inuit. 2001 Camera d'or, Cannes Film Festival; Best Picture, 2002 Genie Awards; #1 Canadian Film of the Decade, Macleans, CTV.

A film by Zacharias Kunuk, Paul Apak, Norman Cohn and Pauloosie Qulitalik


Year of Production: 2001
172 minutes
Drama based on historical legend
Production Company:
Igloolik Isuma Productions
Inuktitut with English, French s-t

Country: Canada
Igloolik; Nunavut, Canadian Arctic

Director: Zacharias Kunuk

Zacharias Kunuk, Paul Apak Angilirq, Norman Cohn, Germaine YG Wong

Paul Apak Angilirq

Director of Photography:
Norman Cohn

Sound Recordist:
Richard Lavoie

Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, Marie-Christine Sarda

Original Music:
Chris Crilly

Michelline Ammaq, Atuat Akkitiq

Principal Cast:
Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk, Madeline Ivalu, Paulossie Qulitalik, Eugene Ipkarnak

Executive Producer:
Sally Bochner



“A masterpiece.... The first national cinema of the 21st century”

A.O. Scott, NY Times

“Mysterious, bawdy, emotionally intense, and replete with virtuoso throat singing, this three-hour movie is engrossing from first image to last, so devoid of stereotype and cosmic in its vision it could suggest the rebirth of cinema.”

Jim Hoberman, Village Voice

“Nothing less than a complete revelation and reinvention of cinematic form…. a definite ‘must-see’.”

Katherine Monk, Vancouver Sun

"An astonishing epic film"

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Un film d'une singulière beauté”

Jean-Michel Frodon, Le Monde

“A milestone...a fascinating cultural document”

Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail


Official Selection - Un Certain Regard -Winner Camera d'or (54th Cannes International Film Festival, May 2001)

Complete listings at the Atanarjuat companion Website



Press Kit / / Film Stills
Companion website
Lesson Plans on Sila Inuit Educational
Atanarjuat on IMDB
Atanarjuat on Rotten Tomatoes
Atanarjuat on Metacritic
Atanarjuat on Amazon

View our catalogue to order Atanarjuat Products



Isuma Distribution International c/o VTape,, +1.416.351.1317 fax-1509;, +1.514.486.0707 fax-9851.

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2h 41m 51s


Atanarjuat, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, drum, fast runner, ift_community_Igloolik, Igloolik, Isuma, katajjaq (throat song), pisiq (traditional song), purple saxifrage, qijuktaq (plant for fires), The Fast Runner, Zacharias Kunuk




Igloolik, NU, Canada


IsumaTV's picture

Manager: IsumaTV

15 October 2009


CLICK HERE to Watch ATANARJUAT and The Fast Runner Trilogy

Un Certain Regard - Official Selection - Cannes 2001
Winner Camera d'or for Best First Feature Film
Canada's Official Selection - Foreign Language Oscar® !
Winner of 6 Genie Awards!
Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Claude Jutra

Best Canadian Feature Film (2001 Toronto International Film Festival)
Co-Winner, Guardian Award for Best New Director (2001 Edinburgh International Film Festival)
Grand Prix of the Flemish Community for Best Film (2001 Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent)
Special Jury Prize and the Prix du Public (Festival International du nouveau Cinema et des nouveaux Medias de Montreal 2001)
CTV Best of Fest Award (Next Fest 2001 - Digital Motion Picture Festival)
Best Film (ImagineNATIVE Media Arts Festival)
Best Feature Film (2001 Sante Fe International Festival)
Best Feature Film (2002 San Diego International Film Festival)
Audience Award (2002 Newport International Film Festival)
Audience Award (2002 Lake Placid Film Forum)
Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress (2002 American Indian Film Festival)
Best Feature-Length Mountain Fiction Film (2002 Banff Mountain Film Festival)

Igloolik is a community of 1200 people located on a small island in the north Baffin region of the Canadian Arctic with archeological evidence of 4000 years of continuous habitation. Throughout these millennia, with no written language, untold numbers of nomadic Inuit renewed their culture and traditional knowledge for every generation entirely through storytelling.

Our film Atanarjuat is part of this continuous stream of oral history carried forward into the new millennium through a marriage of Inuit storytelling skills and new technology.

Atanarjuat is Canada's first feature-length fiction film written, produced, directed, and acted by Inuit. An exciting action thriller set in ancient Igloolik, the film unfolds as a life-threatening struggle between powerful natural and supernatural characters.

Atanarjuat gives international audiences a more authentic view of Inuit culture and oral tradition than ever before, from the inside and through Inuit eyes.

For countless generations, Igloolik elders have kept the legend of Atanarjuat alive to teach young Inuit the danger of setting personal desire above the needs of the group.

The tale of making the film is itself made up of many stories...

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Atanarjuat, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, The Fast Runner, working channel