sami group photo

Source: Courtesy of the AIFF

From let: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Pipaluk Jorgensen, Anna Lajla Utsi and Baltasar Kormakur.

The Arctic Indigenous Film Fund (AIFF) has awarded its first grants to five features from across the Arctic region. Four are in development, and a fifth is in post. 

They are: Kelvin Redvers’ directorial debut Ice Road, a thriller aboutt an Indigenous woman and her dog who are hunted by a stranger in a truck on a snowy, remote highway with nowhere to escape. It is produced by Crosscurrent Productions and No Cap Content, with further support from Telefilm Canada’s Indigenous Stream. 

Pipaluk K. Jørgensen’s Greenland-set This Road Of Mine is her second feature after the groundbreaking Greenlandic drama Anori . The producers are Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Stacey MacDonlad for RedMarrow. It drama is about a young Greenlandic woman who navigates the complicated path to adulthood as she moves abroad.

Marja Bål Nango’s debut feature I Love My Guodoheaddji is about a shy Sami man who falls in love with a mysterious man. The Norway-based filmmaker is the  recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Merata Mita Fellowship.

Eduard Novikov’s At The End of The World  is a drama about a young bishop and old monk on a journey in 19th century Siberia. The director’s past features include award-winner The Lord Eagle.

Finally, Slash/Back, the debut feature from Canada-based Nyla Innuksuk is a sci-fi adventure about a group of 14-year-old Inuit girls who fight an alien invasion in their tiny hamlet of Pangnirtung. The film is now in post and set for release in 2022.

The AIFF also supports the Arctic Chills horror anthology of five supernatural stories directed by Jerri Thrasher (Canada), Ashley Kibaluk-Savard (Canada), Marc Fussing Rosbach (Greenland), Elin Marakatt (Sápmi/Swe) and Sardana Savvina (Sakha Republic).

The AIFF, launched by the International Sami Film Institute, is a new production and development fund for indigenous filmmakers across the arctic region working in film and TV.

The Fund already has partnerships with the International Sámi Film Institute, Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada.

New ambassadors

Additionally, Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, and Danish actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Nukaka Coster-Waldau have joined the AIFF as ambassadors.

The news was announced as the fund organisers and ambassadors attended last week’s Nuuk International Film Festival in Greenland.

Kormakur and the Coster-Waldaus said in a joint statement, “We all have deep personal and professional connections to the Arctic and we know the incredible talent that exists there. Indigenous voices must be heard and those of the circumpolar region have urgent, vital, and powerful stories of the kind the world has not yet heard or seen. It is our hope that the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund succeeds in its goals to support Indigenous filmmakers which will fill a void in funding and financing for these artists.”

Anne Lajla Utsi, managing director of the International Sámi Film Institute, added. “Our stories offer immense potential to studios and broadcasters, while also serving a worldwide audience wanting to see original stories… There is so much more to come.”