1. The programme framework is ready
  2. Venue stood the test
  3. Committees ready to start working
  4. 1st Circular: Call for session proposals
  5. Oslo's new signature
  6. POLARCAT won the race for first proposal
  7. All programme proposals welcome
  8. IPY Open science in St.Petersburg
  9. Programme of 39 sessions
  10. Offer to registered participants: 30 percent discount on excursion to Svalbard
  11. IASC provides travel support to early career scientists
  12. 2nd Circular: Call for abstracts
  13. Time to get a booth at PolarEXPO!
  14. PolarCINEMA ready to receive polar films and TV-documentaries
  15. Steven Chown to be awarded the Martha T Muse Prize at IPY-OSC
  16. The IPY ‘From Knowledge to Action’ Conference to be held in Montreal in 2012
  17. Unique opportunity for science teachers
  18. A new precedent for the involvement of early career scientists
  19. Several opportunities to get travel support
  20. More than 2200 abstracts submitted on deadline
  21. Registration now open
  22. 400 stipends distributed to early career polar scientists
  23. Get your Letter of Invitation
  24. Invitations out for the PolarTEACHERS conference
  25. PolarCINEMA committee very satisfied with the turnout
  26. More than 2500 abstracts accepted
  27. RV Oceania to Oslo for IPY-OSC
  28. Institutions invited to indicate interest for the PolarFESTIVAL
  29. Poster guidelines
  30. Time slots allocated for sessions
  31. Book before 6th May: Glaciers and fjords - excursion to the scenic highlights of Western Norway
  32. Draft programme ready
  33. HRH Crown Prince Haakon will open the IPY-OSC 2010
  34. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco will attend the conference
  35. 9th June Keynote: Katherine Richardson
  36. 10th June Keynote: Ole Henrik Magga
  37. Tinker Foundation travel grants for Latin American participants
  38. 11th June Keynote: David Barber
  39. 12th June Keynote: Alexander Frolov
  40. 2200 have registered so far
  41. Make sure your media contacts are invited
  42. PolarEXCHANGE with Sue Nelson
  43. Patrick Webber awarded with the first IASC Medal
  44. Arctic sea ice cover heading towards another record low?
  45. Teachers and young scientists join forces in Oslo
  46. Making marfu and melting ice
  47. Preparing for tomorrows polar science
  48. Launch of the Polar Information Commons (PIC) Tuesday afternoon
  49. Cruising the Oslo Fjord for polar history
  50. Warm opening of a cool conference
  51. A territory of dialogue
  52. From policy to action
  53. Signing agreement for cooperation
  54. Rising sea levels on the agenda
  55. Prestigious prize for work in Antarctica
  56. Polar expedition to the FRAM Museum
  57. More cold and snowy winters to come
  58. Arctic and Antarctic partners sign agreement on polar education
  59. Medal for science and inspiring mentorship
  60. Science should incorporate indigenous knowledge
  61. A road movie on ice
  62. Data on ice loss in the Arctic Ocean can be misleading
  63. On the making of polar documentaries
  64. Encounters on Polar Street
  65. Morning plenary: Vladimir Kattsov
  66. International Polar Year officially closed
  67. Survey shows Norwegians believe in science
  68. 1st Circular out for IPY 2012 MONTRÉAL
  69. 2nd Circular out for IPY 2012 in Montreal
  70. Reminder: Call for abstracts
  71. One week left till Abstract Deadline
  72. Updating the IPY Publications Database for the IPY 2012 Conference in Montreal
  73. Time to register for the IPY 2012 conference

A road movie on ice

Inuk ingress (Ingressbilde)

The participants at IPY-OSC were some of the first in the world to see the Greenland feature film Inuk on Wednesday. The film is about 16-year-old Inuk and his difficult journey through his own country and in his own mind. “Powerful and authentic” was the response of a packed cinema.

The PolarCINEMA programme, a side event at the International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference in Lillestrøm, is in full swing. During the week, about 100 films - short and long, ranging from podcasts to feature films - are to be shown at the conference venue. Most of them are documentaries about polar science projects, but on Wednesday it was time for the first feature film ever made about and in modern Greenland - and in the Greenlandic language too.

Social anthropologist Jean-Michel Huctin, actor Ole Jørgen Hammeken and Inuk director Mike Magidson.Photo: John Petter Reinertsen/Samfoto
Social anthropologist Jean-Michel Huctin, actor Ole Jørgen Hammeken and Inuk director Mike Magidson.

"Inuk" is the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who lives a troubled life with his alcoholic mother and violent stepfather in Greenland's capital. One day he is sent by social

to a children's home on a tiny island in the middle of the Arctic sea ice. There, Inuk meets Ikuma, a local polar bear hunter, who has his own share of problems. The warm-hearted director of the children's home, Aviaaja, asks Ikuma to take Inuk on his annual seal-hunting trip. He agrees, and they embark on a dramatic dogsled voyage.

Indigenous perspective
The history behind the film began in March 2000, when social anthropologist Jean-Michel Huctin returned to France after years of living with the Inuit on a tiny island in northern Greenland. Determined to tell their story, Jean-Michel teamed up with French producer Sylvie Barbe and American director Mike Magidson. The team collaborated with their Inuit friends to make two highly acclaimed TV documentaries. Despite their success, Jean-Michel and Mike realized that the documentary form has its emotional limits, so they started to make their first feature film, Inuk.

"We wanted to tell the real story," Jean-Michel said.

Both Jean-Michel Huctin and Mike Magidson were present at the screening on Wednesday. Together with Ole Jørgen Hammeken, who plays Ikuma, they presented the film before it was screened and answered questions from the public afterwards.

"I am very glad we didn't shoot the film this year. We had the worst mild winter ever," explained the actor, drawing attention to the effects of climate change that many people on Greenland are already experiencing firsthand.  

Gaaba Petersen as Inuk and Sara Lyberth as Naja.Photo: C'est la Vie Films ©
Gaaba Petersen as Inuk and Sara Lyberth as Naja.

With global warming, the sea ice in Greenland is becoming weaker and more and more unstable, making hunting difficult and dangerous. This problem, and the way it affects the culture and identity of Greenlanders, is an important theme in the film, which opens with this line:

"Outsiders are always surprised about the number of words we have for ice; but to us Inuit, ice is more than just a word. It is our soul."

Not professional actors
Ole Jørgen Hammeken and the other actors are not professionals, which came as a surprise to many of the audience.

"They are ordinary people playing roles close to their real lives: teenagers from a home for neglected Inuit children and local seal hunters," said director Mike Magidson. "This illustrates just how authentic the film is." He added that the actors he and his team worked with in making Inuk are the most professional non-professionals he has ever met.

Jean-Michel Huctin is sure that the teenagers and other locals who appear in the film realise how important Inuk is as a way of communicating the problems facing the Inuit on Greenland.
"And this will become even clearer to them as more people see the film."

Strength to solve their own problems
After the showing, Mike Magidson explained that the film is completely independent.

Watching movie trailers outside the PolarCINEMA.Photo: John Petter Reinertsen/Samfoto
Watching movie trailers outside the PolarCINEMA.
"We didn't want to show a story where we had to make commercial compromises. So it's only our own money we've risked in this project," he explained. He is very grateful to and impressed by his technical crew, who worked in temperatures as low as minus thirty, in an area 500 km north of the Arctic Circle, filming in a language they did not understand - and for the lowest pay in the history of the cinema.

"But this isn't a film that is meant to have limited appeal or show only the dark side of life. We could have created a much starker story, and it would still have been true, but we chose to give it an optimistic angle."

"We wanted to show that Greenland has the inner strength to solve its problems," added Jean-Michel Huctin.

Wider distribution
Now Mike Magdison and Jean-Michel Huctin are trying to get the film out to the public. They are negotiating with distributors and talking to festival organisers.

"Please talk to as many people as possible about the film," Mike urged the greatly moved audience afterwards.

In addition to the showing at the conference venue, Inuk was shown at the film club Cinemateket in central Oslo on Wednesday evening, as part of their polar film festival this week.

PolarCINEMA continues until Saturday. You will find the programme here.

Top photo: C'est la Vie Films

Last updated: 11.06.2010