Inuit-language movie named best Canadian film of all time by TIFF

AtanarjuatAtanarjuat: The Fast Runner, a 2001 Inuit-language movie by Nunavut director Zacharias Kunuk topped the most recent Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF) poll for top Canadian film of all time.

“This is likely the first time that a film by an indigenous filmmaker has topped a poll of national cinema—a tribute to the film’s unique approach to storytelling, its intense specificity, and its powerful universality,” said Steve Gravestock, a TIFF programmer, in an essay on the organization’s website.

Atanarjuat retells an Inuit legend and stars renowned Inuit actor Natar Ungalaaq  in the title role.

This is the fourth such TIFF poll.  In the previous 1984, 1993 and 2004 surveys, Mon oncle Antoine by Quebec’s Claude Jutra topped the list.

The results are voted on by over 200 academics, filmmakers, writers and programmers.

To check out the entire Top 10 film list, click HERE

Zacharias Kunuk’s 2002 lecture at the SFU School of Communication about film and the importance of storytelling:

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Web doc sheds light on Inuit relocation in Arctic Canada, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: TV-loving domestic reindeer becomes celebrity in Arctic Finland, Yle News

Norway:  Tromso filmfest inspires US Arctic envoy, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Sweden:  Polar Sea – major new Arctic adventure, science, social documentary series, Radio Canada International

United States: Brace yourself: More Alaska reality TV on the way, Alaska Dispatch

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a 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 violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

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

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."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *