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Zacharias Kunuk


B: November 27, 1957 in Kaupivik, Nunavut

Zacharias Kunuk spent his childhood summers traveling and hunting with his family. When he was nine the family relocated to the permanent settlement of Igoolik so that he could attend school. In 1983 he started working at the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, which is a regional public broadcasting organization that produces original programming, often in Inuktitut. In 1985 Kunuk began collaborating with Norman Cohn, a video artist from New York. They founded Igoolik Isuma Productions with Paulossie Qulitalik and Paul Apak. Isuma (meaning “think”) was Canada’s first independent Inuit production company. Their first feature film, which was directed by Zacharias, was Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. The film retold a traditional Inuit epic myth, in the Inuktitut language and went on to win the Camera d’Or for Best First Feature at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, and six Genie awards in Canada, including Best Picture and Best Director for Kunuk. In 2004, Kunuk won the first Sun Hill Award for Excellence in Native American Filmmaking, a new annual honour from the Harvard Film Archive. The short films, Auriaq and Qulangisi are episodes shown within the 13-part television series, Nunavut.

Also see: Zacharias Kunuk in Venice.
Also see: VIFF 2016: Invigorating and Eclectic
Also see: We Missed an Anniversary.