Shot on widescreen digital betacam with traditional props and costumes made by Inuit artisans, the film’s production was plagued by funding and logistical problems, but was completed in 2000. It went on to receive 19 awards worldwide, including Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). White, Jerry and Paul Williams. Related Posts David Cronenberg Bio, Career, Married Life, Divorce and Net Worth In 1965, his parents heeded the instructions of government officials and sent Zacharias and his brother to school in Igloolik, where they learned English. In 1998, Kunuk began work on Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), a mystical dramatic thriller based on the ancient Inuit folktale of Atanarjuat. Kunuk and Ungalaaq’s film also offers a critique of the colonial assumptions behind the American Western genre, specifically in their representation of Indigenous peoples. He is the co-founder of Isuma Productions, the first independent Inuit-led film production company in Canada. The film is a lament on the beginnings of the devastating effect of European influence on Inuit culture (and shamanism, specifically) just a few decades before government settlements became the dominant way of life. The film premiered to universal acclaim at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and became the first Canadian film to win the coveted Caméra d’or for best first feature film. NOW magazine’s Norman Wilner wrote, “The material is culturally relevant and the mirror-image storytelling ingenious. It garnered some acclaim and several awards on the international film festival circuit after its world premiere as the opening night film at TIFF in 2006, but its slow pace and lack of narrative focus also alienated some viewers. Kunuk’s leadership in developing and encouraging the Inuit’s unique storytelling style was cited upon his induction as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2002. Kunuk’s preference for making videos about Nunavut’s past rather than its present might be understood as sentimental and nostalgic, but there is a distinctively activist character to his work. He is perhaps best known for his debut feature film, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), which won six Genie Awards (including Best Screenplay, Best Direction and Best Motion Picture) and was ranked the No. IBC veteran Paul Apak Angilirq joined the group later and died of cancer in December 1998. He also worked in broadcasting, joining the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation’s (IBC) Iglooik station in 1982. “It's hard, and I'm amazed that we did it for 20 years.”. He worked his way up to senior producer and station manager before leaving in 1991. He became a staunch critic of the IBC, complaining that too much authority is vested in southern bureaucrats. Kunuk went on to complete a second feature film, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006), with longtime collaborator Norman Cohn.