‹ Back to ALFF Program

ALFF Program

Children of the Arctic

Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 3:00pm
Yukon Arts Centre

Children of the Arctic is a year-in-the-life portrait of Native Alaskan teenagers coming of age in Barrow, Alaska - the northern-most community of the United States. As they embark on their journey into adulthood in and outside of Barrow, they wrestle with their roles as inheritors of a jeopardized culture. Their decisions are inseparably tied to the fate of their community. Who will carry the Iñupiat torch? Who will choose a more individualistic path? And what hangs in the balance?

For the Iñupiat teenagers of Barrow growing up has become a little more complicated than it was for their ancestors who originally named this place Ukpiagvik (“a place to hunt snowy owls”). They are the twenty-first century descendants of a culture that has endured for more than a millennium on this isolated, but now rapidly changing tundra. The trappings of western civilization betray a fusion of cultures that can appear seamless. When a polar bear wanders toward town nowadays, the community is alerted via Facebook. Yet their centuries-old hunting culture is still alive and well.

The harvest of the endangered agviq (bowhead whale) remains the heart of their culture - in the fall, motor boats and modern methods are used, whereas in the spring, whaling crews use the umiaq (a hand-made seal-skin boat) and ancient traditional methods. But under the weight of societal and environmental issues, these promising teenagers are finding it challenging to sustain the adaptability that has long defined their people in one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

In English and Inupiaq with English subtitles.

  • Directed by Nick Brandestini
  • 2014, Switzerland
  • 92 minutes
  • Film Subtitled
Children of the Arctic

ALFF Sponsors

Sponsors Arts Operating FundsCanada Media FundSuper ChannelArts Operating FundsYukon Film and Sound CommissionTelefilm CanadaCanada Council for the ArtsAstral - Harold Greenberg FundCity of WhitehorseYukon, North of OrdinaryTTLPCommunity Cable 9NFBAir North, Yukon's AirlineWhat's Up YukonDriving ForceMuktuk AdventuresLotteries YukonDirectors Guild of CanadaJazz YukonMusic YukonBravoFactZero WasteSkookum Jim Friendship Centre