The goal of Arnait Video Productions (originally the Women’s Video Workshop of Igloolik) is to value the unique culture and voices of Inuit women and to open discussions with Canadians of all origins.
Since its beginnings in 1991, Arnait Video Productions has traced a trajectory revealing the originality of its producers, the context of their work and lives, as well as their strong desire to express cultural values unique in Canada.
Often working in precarious social conditions, the sheer endurance required on the part of the women in Arnait to produce these video documents, testifies to the importance of the project in their lives.
The first works of our group revealed the importance for the women of Igloolik to share oral traditions. Whether in the form of a series of interviews (Women/Health/Body and Itivimiut) or as short works linking songs to reenactment of traditional activities (Qulliq, Attagutaaluk Starvation, Piujuq and Angutautaq), the videos that we produced celebrate the specificity of the culture of women in Igloolik.
While the video works situate themselves in the specificity of their production, they are universal in their motivation for expression. It is this combination that has secured a large public located across the Arctic, in South America, Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Arnait Video Productions has produced documentaries and fictions. The first feature film, Before Tomorrow, won Best Canadian First Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 and was selected for the International Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. SOL, the latest feature documentary, won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary in 2016.
Arnait Video’s productions are the expression of research into traditional and contemporary Inuit styles of narration. An underlying context for the stories told in our video works is the formal innovations associated with the Inuit of Igloolik appropriating videographic tools.
The use of the docu-drama genre permits us to take on our own themes by giving voice to several generations of Inuits: the Elders, who still know the secular traditions of the region around Igloolik, the adults, who have lived in the world of traditional culture, but also in that of “Qabluna”, or white man, and are versatile within both worlds and finally, the young people, who have entered into contact with the Western world which exhorts them to learn, first of all, the tools and skills of that culture before those of their grandparents.
Alternating interviews and scripted portions offer different approaches for exploring our chosen subjects.The originality of Arnait Video Productions’ works is due very much to the efforts undertaken to create a production process that is in harmony with the lives of the women involved in each project. Our production values reflect the cultural values of the participants: respect for community events, for Elders, for hunting and fishing seasons, for certain traditions belonging to particular families, among others. We work as a team to write the scenes of each script, to make the costumes and accessories, and to shape the interaction and performances of the actors.