Opening night at the Planet in Focus Film Festival and a young Inuit drummer and two throat singers kick off the screening of Arctic Defenders. Their music and rhythms are beautiful and unique; it is exhilarating to hear and miraculous to be reminded that we are all part of the same country. Here in Toronto we are extremely aware of diversity while often forgetting to include in that concept residents of the vast North. Director John Walker’s very personal connection and relationships bring us into the story of the creation of Nunavut in a way that clarifies its significance to all Canadians. History here is so recent it resides in living memory, as the elders of today recall their childhoods. They tell of Inuit families being involuntarily transported by RCMP and dropped off 1500 miles from their home, functioning as “human flagpoles” in order to maintain Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage. As we see the polar icecaps melting, their dignified struggle to maintain their culture and protect their homeland now resonates with the world.
– Schuster Gindin