October 15, 2009

The Northern Documentary - Part 3

The north's most prolific northern documentary production company has to be Igloolik Isuma Productions, based out of Igloolik, Nunavut. Remember the international sensation Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner? That was an Isuma production. Atanarjuat wasn't a documentary, but Isuma started as one and has since taught and inspired many other northerners to share their stories through documentary film-making. A quick check of their Wikipedia entry shows no less than eighteen documentaries credited to Isuma. I am certain there are many more.

Through film-making, Isuma has helped to preserve Inuit stories and culture and share that culture with the rest of the world. It has given northerners a voice, become a driver for economic development and, not surprisingly, become a source of local pride.

Isuma hasn't rested on its laurels. The launch of IsumaTV has given indigenous peoples from around the world a place to share their stories and their films. Think of it as an indigenous youtube, but with longer videos, often in the traditional language of the film-maker.

As film-making and video editing continues to become easier and more affordable, and with the emergence of sites like IsumaTV, where people can share their documentaries with the world, I have no doubt that the tradition of northern documentary film-making will continue to grow.

I, for one, am really looking forward to it.

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