Kunuk’s latest film a tool to start talking about shamanism again, says director


Staff member
By Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com

Two decades after introducing his film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner to the world, Inuk director Zacharias Kunuk has another movie earning accolades.
Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice, Kunuk’s adaptation of an Inuit traditional story, was named the Best Canadian Short at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which concluded on Sept. 18 in Toronto.
International film journalists who are members of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI), had previously awarded Kunuk’s latest film the FIRPRESCI Award when it played at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France in July.
The latest recognition from TIFF, however, means Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice is automatically qualified for consideration for an Oscar nomination.
Kunuk took the world by storm in 2001 when the Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner had its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
The film, which won the Golden Camera Award at Cannes, was the first Canadian dramatic feature film written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language.
The film, which went on to capture awards at numerous festivals throughout the world, retells an Inuit legend passed down through centuries.
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner had been scheduled to have its North American premiere at TIFF in 2001. But that showing was postponed following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Many years later, in 2015, Kunuk’s movie was chosen as the greatest Canadian film of all time in a poll of TIFF filmmakers and critics.
As for Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice, like Kunuk’s breakthrough film, it involves a traditional Inuit story.
The film focuses on a young woman who is...continued

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