Film Screening: Cree-Inuit Reconciliation
Documentary | 45 Minutes | 2013 | Directed by Zacharias Kunuk and Neil Diamond
Zacharias Kunuk and Neil Diamond team up to research the events and historical impacts of an 18th century conflict between Inuit and Cree in Northern Québec.
Biography of Directors: Zacharias Kunuk and Neil Diamond
Zacharias Kunuk (b. 1957, Kapuivik near Igloolik) won the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2001 for Isuma’s first feature, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner. He is president of Igloolik Isuma Productions, Canada’s first Inuit-owned independent production company, co-founded in 1990 with the late Paul Apak, the late Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn.
Besides being a filmmaker, Zacharias has been active in his community work. He has served on the Boards of Igloolik's Hunters and Trappers Organization and Radio Society; was elected to several terms as Hamlet Councillor including acting as Deputy Mayor; was appointed to the Board of Nunavut Arctic College; and is currently on the Board of Nunavut Development Corporation.
In 1981, Kunuk sold three sculptures in Montreal and brought home the Arctic’s first home video camera. From 1983-1991 he worked for Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in Igloolik, as producer, then senior producer and finally station manager.
As an independent producer through Isuma from 1988 to the present, Zach’s credits include the short dramas Qaggiq (Gathering Place, 1989), Nunaqpa (Going Inland, 1991) and Saputi (Fish Traps, 1993); Isuma’s 13-part TV series Nunavut (Our Land, 1995), broadcast on Bravo! and exhibited at Dokumenta 11; more than a dozen documentaries from Nipi (Voice, 1999), Nanugiurutiga (My First Polar Bear, 2001) and Kunuk Family Reunion (2004), to the more recent Kiviaq vs. Canada (2006), Exile (2009) and currently in production, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change.
Kunuk also is producer of The Fast Runner Trilogy, three ground-breaking Inuit-language feature films that have received worldwide audience acclaim: Atanarjuat The Fast Runner (2001), The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006) and Before Tomorrow (2009).
Besides winning numerous film prizes during the past ten years, Zach is a winner of the National Arts Award and National Aboriginal Achievement Award; in 2005 was named an Officer of the Order of Canada; and in 2008 awarded an Honoray Doctor of Law degree from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.
Neil Diamond (Cree) is a director and writer with the First Nations independent production company Rezolution Pictures International in Montreal. Diamond’s recent award-winning documentary Reel Injun provides a lively and insightful look at the portrayal of Native Americans through a century of Hollywood film. In 2010 the film won three Gemini Awards of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for Best Direction in a Documentary Program, Best Visual Research, and the Canada Award, which recognizes work that explores the racial and cultural diversity of Canada. The film was runner-up for the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program and for Best Original Music Score. Reel Injun has won awards at numerous Canadian and international film festivals, premiering in 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival and selected as the opening night film of the 2009 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. It has been released theatrically in Canada and the U.S. and has been broadcast on television, including on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2010.
Diamond has actively explored Cree culture and the impact of Hydro-Québec dams on Cree communities bordering James Bay through film and photography. He has worked closely with Cree producer, director and writer Ernest Webb. In 2009 the two co-directed the feature-length docudrama The Last Explorer, based on the life of Diamond’s uncle. Diamond’s earlier directing credits, with Webb as producer, include the award-winning documentaries Heavy Metal: A Mining Disaster in Northern Quebec and One More River, co-directed with Tracey Deer, winner of the Pierre and Yolande Perrault Award for Best Documentary Debut at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois. Diamond's directorial debut, the 2001 film Cree Spoken Here, won the Telefilm/APTN Award for Best Aboriginal Documentary. Diamond also co-directed and co-wrote the series Dab Iyiyuu about elders and traditional knowledge, which was broadcast for three seasons on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
In 1993, Diamond helped found The Nation, a northern Cree news magazine. He sits on the editorial board of The Nation, and is a director of the magazine's parent company, Beesum Communications. He was raised in Waskaganish, a Cree community on the southern end of James Bay, and lives and works in Montreal.