The Canadian production teambehind Atanarjuat: The Fast Runnerand The Journals Of Knud Rasmussenhave launched a feature film distribution initiative to service 200 remoteaboriginal communities across northern Canada.
Backed by a broad coalitionof private and public sector enterprises, including Telefilm Canada andAlliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution (MPD) as well as several northernairlines, the $785,000 (C$900,000) Indigenous Film Network (IFN) will launchNovember 22 with a screening of Rasmussen in the community of Rankin Inlet in the territory of Nunavut.
The first phase of IFN willutilise portable HD projectors and hard drives for screenings in communityhalls and school gymnasiums; the second phase, starting late 2007, will expandto an installed base of HD projection systems with programming delivered viainternet video downloads.
Since its world premiere atToronto International Film Festival in September, Rasmussen, a Canada-Denmark coproduction, has screened at film events around the world;however, its principal target audience, aboriginal Canadians, overwhelminglylive in remote areas without traditional cinemas.
The launch of IFN is avictory for the Igloolik Isuma partners, following a drawn-out tangle betweenprincipal Norman Cohn, co-director, co-producer, co-screenwriter and DP of Rasmussen, andsenior executives at Telefilm Canada, the nation's principal public sector filminvestor. Cohn made public his email correspondence regarding northerndistribution with the executives, ultimately convincing them that to dootherwise would run contrary to the agency's mandate to serve all Canadiansregardless of where in Canada they live.
Said Cohn: "Third World conditions in health, unemploymentand living conditions in Aboriginal communities are the largest human rightsproblem facing progressive First World countries like Canada and Denmark. Fullparticipation by indigenous people in film and media systems can provideclearer insights into these problems and lead to practical contemporarysolutions to many of them."
Telefilm Canada hascommitted $250,000 to IFN as a recoupable marketing advance from itsAlternative Distribution Fund. Other sponsors include Makivik Corporation,Kivalliq Inuit Association, the Canada Council, imagineNATIVE Film + Media ArtsFestival, First Air, Air Inuit, Wasaya Airways and Air Creebec.