Arviat Film Society could get good exposure from workshops

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The Nunavut Film Development Corp. (NFDC) will visit members of the Arviat Film Society to deliver a series of film industry training workshops from Oct. 4 to 7.

The society’s Gord Billard said the NFDC has begun travelling around to Nunavut communities to deliver workshops and, also, to develop what it calls a strategic plan for the next five years, or so.

German cinematographer Fabian Klein, left, watches as Edith Issakiark tries out a state-of-the-art virtual reality viewer during an Arviat Film Society meeting in Arviat in 2018. Photo courtesy of Gord Billard

He said the film development corp. is looking at how to promote and train people in filmmaking across the territory and get some of the focus out of Iqaluit.

“I met the chief executive officer, Huw Eirug, at the Nunavut Skills competition in Iqaluit this past spring and he chatted to me about NFDC’s plans for the next year, or so,” said Billard.

“The workshops being hosted in Arviat will start at the beginner level; teaching every aspect of filmmaking from the idea to the final product, and how to execute all the different steps and stages to get there.

“Before they actually deliver the workshops, Huw (Eirug) and a couple of his colleagues are travelling around to the communities to talk to people who are interested in filmmaking.

“They’re finding out what they’d like to do with film, what they have on-hand to do it with, and what extra they’d need to produce complete projects.”

Billard said during their recent visit to Arviat, they met with him and Eric Anoee Jr. (a member of both NFDC and the Arviat Film Society), and he brought a group of people together for Eirug to meet at John Arnalukjuak High School that included former members of the Arviat Film Society and some people he thought would be interested in the workshops.

He said they discussed their ideas for film with Eirug and talked about what they had, what they need and what they’d do if they had everything necessary for filmmaking in the community.


German director Philipp Schaeffer, third from left, plans a virtual reality film with Arviat Film Society members, clockwise from Schaeffer, Edith Issakiark, Andy Evaloakjuk, Katy Suluk, Shayla Ikakhik, Lydia Kaviok and Keisha Owingayak in Arviat in 2018. Photo courtesy of Gord Billard

“We had seven or eight show up and I think most of them are interested in doing the workshops,” said Billard.

“They’re only looking at having 10-to-12 people involved, but if more show up, they’ll do their best to accommodate them.

“Industry professionals will deliver the workshops, teaching the participants how to do camera work, editing, the initial planning for a project and all that involves, as well as the rest of the steps necessary to complete a film project.

“The goal at the end of the workshop period is to have a two-or-three-minute video based on whatever comes-up in their training sessions and the interests of the group of people who they’re with.”

Billard said the Arviat Film Society is looking forward to the upcoming workshops.

He said Eirug told him Arviat has a particularly special place in the filmmaking world in Nunavut because of its film society and the exposure it’s generated over the years.

“Huw said we’re pretty well known across the territory for having done some things in film and, in his travels around the North, people talk to him about the film society here, ask him how it got started and indicate that it’s what they want in their community,” said Billard.

“We also spoke to him a lot about the people who came here to do film work with us like Philipp Schaeffer (director) and (cinematographer) Fabian Klein from Germany, the Australian people who came to do the polar bear story, and several other filmmakers who have come and done work in Arviat over the years.

“I’m excited about this because I’m hoping it will help us to re-energize our film society because we’ve hit a bit of a slump during the past couple of years in terms of membership and activity.

“I’m not teaching video production at the school anymore, which used to be my source for encouraging people to become a member of the Arviat Film Society, so that’s contributed in some part, I believe, to the drop in activity and membership, and we don’t seem to attract as many people from the community as we’d like.”

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