Arctic Indigenous Film Fund launches in Norway

Signatories of the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund agreement pose for a picture at the Indigenous Film Conference at the Sami University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway. March 8, 2018. (Ulannaq Ingeman/ Arctic Indigenous Film Fund)
As climate change brings increased international attention to the Arctic, Indigenous filmmakers across the circumpolar countries will have a new resource to help them tell their own stories.

The Arctic Indigenous Film Fund (AIFF) launched last week at the Indigenous Film Conference at the Sami University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway.

It’s an international collaboration between the Canada Media Fund (CMF), the International Sami Film Institute, Nunavut Film Development Corporation, Greenland Film Makers and Archy, Russia.

Representatives of all six organizations were present to sign the partnership agreement, which will be preserved in a traditional Sami chest. The signing ceremony at the conference was witnessed by more than 120 representatives from the international film and television industry.

The Norwegian government will provide $1 million in seed money to help kick-start the circumpolar collaboration project that includes partners from Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Eventually the fund hopes to become self-sufficient thanks to the revenues its activities will generate.

Founding members of the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund sign the agreement establishing the fund at a ceremony at the Indigenous Film Conference at the Sami University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway. March 8, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Canada Media Fund)

“The objective of this multi-stakeholder engagement is to support Northern Indigenous producers who will work collaboratively with partners in other Indigenous communities in the Circumpolar region,” Valerie Creighton, president and CEO of the CMF, said in a statement to Eye on the Arctic. “The intended outcome of this initiative is to further invest in a vibrant, independent Indigenous screen-based industry in the Arctic, allowing creators in that region to tell their stories, preserve their languages and take this content to the world.”


AIFF will also actively work to give young Indigenous people in the Arctic opportunities to work in the media and digital business in their own communities, organizers said.

The fund will also build a network between film institutions, companies, producers and Universities, thereby strengthening business and competitive advantages; organize film and TV education for young Indigenous talents; and lead common projects and programs with partners.

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Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Armenia, Levon started his journalistic career in 1990, covering wars and civil strife in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1992, after the government in Armenia shut down the TV program he was working for, Levon immigrated to Canada. He learned English and eventually went back to journalism, working first in print and then in broadcasting. Levon’s journalistic assignments have taken him from the High Arctic to Sahara and the killing fields of Darfur, from the streets of Montreal to the snow-capped mountaintops of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. He says, “But best of all, I’ve been privileged to tell the stories of hundreds of people who’ve generously opened up their homes, refugee tents and their hearts to me.”

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