Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril

Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril is an independent filmmaker based in Iqaluit. Raised by a mother who was “passionate about preserving and promoting [Inuit] language and culture”, Arnaquq-Baril was influenced to work to be a voice for Inuit through her films [1]. She researches, explores and documents Inuit cultural practices and the histories of these practices. For example, her 2010 film Tunnitt: Retracing the Lines of Traditional Tattoo looks at traditional Inuit tattooing, a custom which virtually disappeared in Inuit culture within 100 years. The film documents her research visiting nine Inuit communities and interviewing over fifty elders and her personal process of deciding to get her own tattoos. With this project she permanently preserved knowledge that, given another 20 years, may have been entirely lost.

Arnaquq-Baril uses her films to bring attention to important issues facing modern Inuit. In Angry Inuk (2016) she addresses the highly controversial issue of commercial seal hunting. Here she presents, in full, a perspective that very few people outside Inuit communities understood before. Since the film’s release, the conversation on the seal hunt has changed and public opinion has slowly shifted [2]. Arnaquq-Baril also uses her social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, to continue addressing these kinds of issues on a day-to-day basis. With her work, she aims to “reassess what’s normal, what’s right and what [she] believes about [Inuit] culture” and to spread Inuit knowledge and Inuit perspective to the outside world [3].

Arnaquq-Baril graduated from Sheridan College in Ontario in illustration and art fundamentals, and received animation training at the Banff Centre [4]. She works as a director, producer and animator and also runs a film production company called Unikkaat Studios Inc. out of Iqaluit. Her films have been screened in major Canadian and international festivals and selected for multiple awards. Angry Inuk was selected for the Audience Choice award at both Hot Docs Festival 2016 and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and won the People's Choice award at TIFF's Canada's Top Ten Film Festival 2017. In 2010 Arnaquq-Baril won the Documentary Guild of Canada’s Allan King Award for Excellence in Documentary.

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Accomplishments
 
2011: Seven Sins: Sloth (2011) selected as 1 of 15 short films for Telefilm Canada’s Not-Short-on-Talent program at the Cannes Festival Market.

2010: Inuit High Kick screened as part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

2010: Inuit High Kick was chosen for Hot Docs Official Selection.

2009: Experimental Eskimos (2009) was chosen for Hot Docs Official Selection.



Citations/Footnotes

1. Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, "In Pursuit of the Lost Tradition of Inuit Tattooing," Interview by CBC, CBC news, December 7, 2011, Accessed October 16, 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2178352968/.
2. Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, "Q&A: Angry Inuk Director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril Hopes to Change Minds on Seal Ban," Interview by Kevin Kablutsiak, CBC News, May 04, 2016, Accessed October 16, 2016, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/q-and-a-alethea-arnaquq-baril-angry-inuk-1.3564994
3. Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, “Pursuit of Lost Tradition,” CBC News, 2011
4. "Alethea Arnaquq-Baril," National Museum of the American Indian, July 2012, Accessed October 16, 2016, http://filmcatalog.nmai.si.edu/person/4510/.