The other week, The Polar Museum (part of the Scott Polar Research Institute) organized a ten day online art festival called The Big Freeze. On the last night of the festival, three films by Inuit filmmakers Nyla Innuksuk, Asinnajaq and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril were shown, following a 50 minute discussion about Inuit film making and the value of historic collections and archives.
Three Thousand by Asinnajaq was one of the films, and it was so powerful, so heartrending, so original – I’ve never seen anything quite like it before – that I feel it would be somewhat criminal not to talk about it.
My father was born in a spring igloo – half snow, half skin. I was born in a hospital with jaundice and two teeth.Asinnajaq
Released in 2017 and coming in at fourteen minutes (though I wish it was doubly as long), this art film/documentary mixes dreamlike animation – there’s moments where imaginary beings in the sky play football with a walrus head, while behind them the aurora borealis dances – with engrossing archival footage of Inuit living their lives – cuddling puppies, gutting fish, cleaning pelts. In one scene, a baby pokes a fish’s eye then licks her finger.
The footage bought about so many feelings I didn’t know what to do with them all. I was taken into the past of the Inuit people, their present and their future, which Asinnajaq envisions as being full of ‘hope and beautiful possibility.’
In an interview with Shameless Mag, Asinnajaq said ‘I saw a need in the world for a film that could exist that showed Inuit coming from the land, from what’s more stereotypically known, you know people still asking if you live in a igloo, people who need to know more about life and Inuit and where we come from to take us from the starting point…wind, cold snow, igloo, to contemporary times and it’s still us. We come from here but we live right now.’