The first Inuit-language feature film will have its world premiere at the prestigious Cannes International Film festival in May, according to newspaper reports.
Director Zacharias Kunuk’s historical thriller, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) will be shown as part of Un Certain Regard, the festival’s program of work by first-time filmmakers.
Atanarjuat is set in Igloolik, a community of 1,200 people on a small island in the Baffin region. The film is based on an ancient Inuit legend which tells a story of murder, jealousy, love and revenge. It is produced entirely in the Inuktitut language.
The $1.96-million film marks the first time Inuit storytelling has been put on screen and made accessible through English subtitles.
The movie took five years to make, including more than a year writing a script based on the oral recollections of eight Elders in the community.
Most of the cast had never acted before and 90 percent of the crew was local.
“Everyone who worked on this film grew up hearing their grandparents tell this story,” said Norm Cohn, the producer.