Animated short, ANGAKUSAJAUJUQ: THE SHAMAN’S APPRENTICE, from Canada’s Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner)

Zacharias Kunuk, director of the world’s first Inuktitut-language feature film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001 Cannes Camera d’Or and voted the “best Canadian film of all time” by the 2015 TIFF Film Critic poll) has released a groundbreaking new stop motion animation short film. Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice is in consideration for the 2021 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Angakusajaujuq: The Shaman’s Apprentice is an adaptation of an Inuit traditional story. A young shaman in training must face her first test—a trip to the underground to visit Kannaaluk, who holds the answers to why a community member has become ill. The film was co-produced by Taqqut Productions, an award-winning Inuit-owned production company.

The film has won multiple awards since its July premiere, including the FIPRESCI Award (Annecy International Animation Festival), the IMDbPro Best Canadian Short Film Award at TIFF, and the Canadian Film Institute (CFI) Award for Best Canadian Animation (Ottawa Animation Film Festival).  

On the motivation behind making the film, Kunuk stated: “We have so many amazing stories waiting to be told. I see this short film simply as a tool [to] start talking about shamanism again, for Inuit to be proud of our rich spiritual traditions . . . and for non-Inuit audiences to get a glimpse into a spiritual world that they’ve likely never heard about before.” See video introduction with Zacharias Kunuk HERE

Twenty years after the world premiere of Atanarjuat, we hope this new short will continue the discussion being led by contemporary Indigenous filmmakers across North America who are using the power of film and television to reclaim language, culture, and history from their perspectives and in their voices.

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