Film summit a hit

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Three members of the Arviat Film Society (AFS) travelled to Iqaluit to participate in the Avalusiniq Sivuniksaq (Framing the Future) film conference on March 12 and 13.

Arviat Film Society member Elena Akammak gets to try on the CBC's TV studio for size while in Iqaluit to attend the Nunavut film conference on March 12-13, 2019. Photo courtesy Eric Anoee
Arviat Film Society member Elena Akammak gets to try on the CBC’s TV studio for size while in Iqaluit to attend the Nunavut film conference on March 12-13, 2019. Photo courtesy Eric Anoee

Representing the AFS at the conference were Eric Anoee and youth members Elena Akammak and Jamie Okatsiak.
“It was really cool to have Elena open the conference by introducing the AFS and explaining a bit about what the AFS does,” said Anoee. “I could see making that presentation really boosted her confidence.
“Elena was really well-received and a lot of people commented that they were really inspired and rejuvenated by getting back to working with more films.”
The conference was sponsored by the Nunavut Film Development Corp. (NFDC), Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund.
Anoee said the AFS members were invited to participate in the summit by event organizers within the NFDC.
He said they had to do a bit of preparation for the event, mainly on Akammak’s opening presentation.
“We coached her a bit on what she would say but it was her moment in the limelight, so we let her speak from her heart and she did an outstanding job.
“There were a number of very good panelists present and we got to meet with various groups from across Nunavut that do a lot of work similar to our own.
“There were talks about training opportunities and we also met a number of funders and gained some very valuable information. It’s nice to now have an idea on the right places to go when seeking funding and direction for a movie project.”
Anoee said there were a lot of remarks made on the need to support community TV, which struck close to home concerning the society’s efforts in Arviat because AFS members were on their own while launching their community TV programming. He said the AFS did the community programming without much outside help, money or funding.
“Many people at the summit were in agreement that there needs to be more support for community-run groups,” said Anoee. “There were a lot of really encouraging people there and, when we met with them, we were told they’d heard a lot about us and were really impressed by the fact Arviat and other communities rich in culture and talent – Iglulik and Clyde River, for example – are producing so many good projects.
“The conference was definitely time well-spent and long overdue – not just for our AFS group but for us as individual future independent filmmakers, because we gained a lot of insight and confidence from talking to other Nunavummiut and participants from Greenland.”
The non-profit NFDC is the film commission and funding agent for Nunavut. It’s responsible for fostering and promoting the development and growth of the film, television and digital-media industry in the territory.
The summit featured a number of panelists and presenters, as well as program funders, broadcasters and other groups that either run TV programming or are involved with filmmaking.
The event unofficially kicked-off with a special screening of the feature film, The Grizzlies, on the evening of March 11.
Anoee said day one featured a welcome from conference facilitator Karliin Aariak, the introduction of the NFDC’s board of directors and staff members.
There was also a Nunavut communities update and question-and-answer session with moderator Vinnie Karetak and panel members Akammak (AFS), Barbara Okpik (Gjoa Haven Film Society) Carol Kunnak (Iglulik) and Julia Ogina (Kitikmeot Inuit Association).
He said day two featured more presentations and question-and-answer sessions, a wrap-up and summary of the event and one-on-one sessions with funders and broadcasters.
Anoee said as a small, non-profit organization run by volunteers, the AFS is always looking for partners and other help with information gathering.
He said the AFS will embrace with open arms any group or individual who wants to work with the society to help it and its individual members realize their future goals.
“There’s a group that wants to, one day, start operating what it calls Nunavut TV, but there are various stakeholders in the industry who are not on-side with the idea yet.
“Nunavut has so many issues to deal with and so many things that need to be funded first, but, that being said, we need the support of everyone who believes it’s time for a Nunavut-run TV operation.
“Those who believe in the project can talk to their MLA and Inuit organizations to gain support in the need for Nunavut TV.”
The NFDC’s top priorities are to grow and sustain the indigenous film, TV and digital-media industry by facilitating training opportunities through professional development, mentorship, co-productions and special projects. It also stablishes and maintains a funding program, including a labour rebate program that assists the industry in expanding capacity to produce projects in Nunavut.
It also fosters the development of business partnerships between companies and individuals in key areas of the industry, while providing production and location services, including information and support.