After we leave Kenojuak’s we return to Kinngait Studios to continue filming. At some point during the afternoon, one of the lithographers brings a phone over to me and passes me the receiver.
It’s one of Kenojuak’s relatives. The individual appears to be, oh… how shall we say it… in an ‘altered state.’
The individual starts demanding money.
It takes me a while to realize the woman on the phone wants to be paid for the interview I did with Kenojuak.
I should have just hung up on the woman but I was so stunned that I blabber away that (RCI) doesn’t pay for interviews. The individual goes on to say that in that case, I can just pay her (the relative) out of my own pocket.
I tell her that’s impossible, journalists can’t do that.
The individual on the phone says that’s not acceptable and threatens to come down to our hotel tonight to ‘sort this out.’
At no point during weeks of preparation for the shoot, while we were at her home or during the interview, did Kenojuak ever mention that she wanted money.
I get the feeling the woman on the phone is just trying to shake me down for quick cash.
‘OK,’ I said. ‘If [Kenojuak] has a problem, [Kenojuak] can call me herself to sort it out.’
The individual seemed to lose steam after this and hangs up the phone.
We never hear from her again.