This film has, in many ways, been a labour of love and devotion to a place, a culture, and a topic.
When we began the Inuit Mental Health and Adaptation to Climate Change project, we did not set out to make a film, or to tell the story in this way. It evolved from the realization that in order to make a difference and in order to reach people, we needed to find a medium that would let the voices and wisdom of Inuit in Nunatsiavut, Labrador to shine through, and to introduce people to the beauties of Inuit culture and the environments in which they live. Film was the perfect medium!
This film was born from an idea proposed during a Research Team meeting in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Labrador in November 2012. Preliminary footage was shot in November 2012, but full filming began in January 2013. Armed with a small Canon Vixia HD camcorder (chosen for its small size, portability, and ability to withstand cold) and almost zero film experience, Ashlee Cunsolo Willox began the journey of working with people throughout Nunatsiavut to record interviews, shoot scenery and action shots (b-roll), and start to conceptualize a film that would tell the story of the Labrador Inuit and their deep connection to and love of the land.
The interview portion of the film wrapped in March 2013, and the long process of editing began. Under the editing prowess of Jenni Welsh from Cape Breton, and working in conjunction with Ashlee Cunsolo Willox and the Research Team, over 50 hours of film was whittled down to about an hour’s worth of dialogue footage. This rough cut was then shared with all participants in the video to get their feedback, ideas, and approval.
Working with these edits, a second rough cut of the film—this time including b-roll and music—was created and then screened in all five Nunatsiavut communities in March and early April 2014 throughout community Open Houses. Over 120 people throughout the region viewed this version of the film, with many providing excellent and constructive feedback on how to structure the stories and the film to be most reflective of Nunatsiavut, and most representative of the story people in these communities want others to hear and to know.
The penultimate version premiered in Prince George in May 2014, as part of the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, a gathering of researchers, policy makers, government representatives, and Indigenous peoples from throughout the Circumpolar North.
And now, we are ready to share it with the world! The final result of this 22-month process is Attutauniujuk Nunami/Lament for the Land, a powerful story of change, loss, and hope in the context of rapid climate change in the North.
We hope you love it as much as we loved making it.