TIFF picks Iqaluit-made short film to premiere at Toronto festival
“The film’s like one of those spicy, sweet candies that fizz hard in the middle."
A short film adaptation of an Inuit legend shot outside Iqaluit will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes tells the story of a modern hunter who stumbles into an area haunted by a mischievous spirit, producer Ellen Hamilton told Nunatsiaq News.
“Any legend has many versions, depending on the region, but this is a modern interpretation.”
The film was written by Iqalummiut Nyla Innuksuk, Hamilton’s daughter, and stars Johnny Issaluk as the hunter.
Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory, who has called Iqaluit home for the past 10 years, plays the haunting spirit.
“I knew the film was going to be a great one from the moment I heard about it,” she said from Greenland, where she’s working on a project with the Greenlandic National Theater.
The tough conditions — filming in -40C, at night and in blizzard-like winds — meant the cast and crew had to work hard and quickly, Williamson-Bathory said.
Hamilton was tasked with keeping everybody warm and fed, cooking over a small portable stove.
“It was great for authenticity, but it was hard on equipment, it was hard on everybody,” Hamilton said.
But the end-result was well worth it, Williamson-Bathory said.
“The film’s like one of those spicy, sweet candies that fizz hard in the middle: it’s short, beautifully shot, the acting is great and honest, the music is perfect and it gives you a fizzy, freaky thrill to top it all off.”
The film will have its world premiere at TIFF, which runs Sept. 4 to Sept. 14.