Isuma, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019), Directed by Zacharias Kunuk
Synopsis: In April 1961, John Kennedy is America’s new President, the Cold War heats up in Berlin and nuclear bombers are deployed from bases in arctic Canada. In Kapuivik, north Baffin Island, Noah Piugattuk’s nomadic Inuit band live and hunt by dog team as his ancestors did when he was born in 1900. When the white man known as Boss arrives at Piugattuk’s hunting camp, what appears as a chance meeting soon opens up the prospect of momentous change. Boss is an agent of the government, assigned to get Piugattuk to move his band to settlement housing and send his children to school so they can get jobs and make money. But Kapuivik is Piugattuk’s homeland. He takes no part in the Canadian experience; and cannot imagine what his children would do with money.
One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk opened at the Canadian Pavillion of the Biennale de Venezia 2019, as a 4K digital video installation, 112 minutes, Inuktitut-English 2019.
Isuma, meaning ‘to think,’ is a collective of Inuit-owned related companies based since 1990 in Igloolik, Nunavut with a southern office in Montreal. In January 1990 four partners Zacharias Kunuk, Paul Apak, Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn incorporated Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. to produce and distribute independent Inuit-language films and media art from an Inuit point of view, featuring local actors recreating Inuit life in the Igloolik region in the 1930s and 1940s. Over the next ten years, Isuma helped establish an Inuit media arts centre, NITV; a youth media and circus group, Artcirq; and a women’s video collective, Arnait Video Productions. In 2001, Isuma’s first feature-length drama, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, won the Camera d’or at the Cannes Film Festival; Isuma’s second feature, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, opened the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2004 Isuma incorporated Isuma Distribution International and in 2008 launched IsumaTV, the world’s first website for Indigenous media art now showing over 7,000 films and videos in 84 languages. Isuma’s 30-year media art project represented Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale with its newest feature, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, which then screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and won Best Canadian Film at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival.
This screening is made possible thanks to IsumaTV, Vtape, Nicki Ittner and the Marfa Public Library.