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ALFF 2014 OPENING FILM: Arctic Defenders!

This screening took place on
Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 7:00pm
Yukon Arts Centre

Director in attendance. Post screening ‘in-conversation with John Walker’ talk hosted by Globe and Mail film critic, Geoff Pevere.

Master documentary filmmaker John Walker returns to ALFF with his twentieth film; a finely layered and gorgeous film about a personal journey, the creation of the largest Aboriginal land claim in the western hemisphere, the meaning of sovereignty and Inuit self-determination. Arctic Defenders is co-produced with Iqaluit-based filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and asks vital questions that cut through the cliches of the ‘meaning of north’ and holds up a mirror for Canadians to reconsider our assumed narratives around the history of the settlement of Inuit communities and the government of Canada’s priorities around the Arctic.

The world’s polar regions are entering a new era of international exploration and exploitation due to climate change. Canada’s claim to her sovereignty over the north has never been more important than today. In 1999, Nunavut was established under an historic, comprehensive land claim agreement with the federal government that gave 33,000 Inuit special rights and benefits. The largest territorial re-visioning on Earth was finally established when the Government of Canada signed the agreement giving the Inuit dominion over the land.

The creation of Nunavut (meaning “Our Land”) happened after 30 years of lobbying by visionary Inuit determined to redraw the political boundaries of Canada and negotiate provisions allowing them to be intimately involved in the governance of their territory. Canada had finally realized that without the Inuit claim to the land, its own sovereignty of the north would be questioned by an international community determined to gain access to the oil and mineral riches of the northern hemisphere.

Veteran John Walker’s film takes us on a journey to investigate the contemporary history of misguided attempts by the Canadian government to assert its sovereignty in the High Arctic and how a generation of radical Inuit changed the political landscape of Canada’s North. But it’s also an incredibly personal film, as it charts Walker’s return to lands he first explored as a wide-eyed teenager.

John Walker selected filmography: Strand- Under the Dark Cloth (1989), A Winter Tan (1987), The Fairy Faith (2000), Men of the Deeps (2003), Passage (2008), A Drummer’s Dream (2010).

  • Directed by John Walker
  • 2013, Nunavut/ Nova Scotia
  • 90 minutes
    ALFF 2014 OPENING FILM: Arctic Defenders!

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