Film explores ties between Inuit in Greenland and Canada

A still shot from the film Vanishing Point. Sled dogs are still used for hunting and travelling in northwestern Greenland.  (Julia Szucs / NFB)
A still shot from the film Vanishing Point. Sled dogs are still used for hunting and travelling in northwestern Greenland. (Julia Szucs / NFB)

Much has been written about the rapid social and environmental change faced by Inuit living in the circumpolar world.

But Vanishing Point a recent Canadian documentary by directors and producers Julia Szucs and Stephen Smith, explores these issues from a unique perspective.

In the 1860s,an Inuk shaman convinced several dozen Inuit on Baffin Island, in what is now Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, to follow him to northwestern Greenland.

The social and cultural legacy of this migration is still felt by Inuit in the region.

Navarana Sorensen, an Inuk elder from Greenland’s northwest, is one of the shaman’s decedents.

In Vanishing Point, she uses this story as a jumping off point to explore her roots and how life is being altered for Inuit in the rapidly changing North.

“Navarana is an incredible person, very strong, very connected to her community,” said film co-director Julia Szucs.

“There’s a growing appetite in the North for people to understand their history and to hear their own stories. We want to be able to support that.”

The film was shot both in Greenland and on Baffin Island.

Film co-director Stephen Smith, says he hopes the film also exposes people living outside of the Arctic to the accelerating environmental and socials changes in the world’s circumpolar regions.

“I think it’s really, really important for the outside world to know that the activities of the outside world have a very big impact on the way of life in this part of the world,” Smith said.

To find out more about the film, I reached Julia Szucs and Stephen Smith in the community of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut earlier this week.

To listen to our conversation, click here

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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