Documentary Films | 2016 | 85 minutes
Stranger Says: “I’m watching a documentary about seal hunting,” I said, and everyone gasped. Afterward, I knew my own ignorance and was ready to put in an order for a seal-skin coat made on Baffin Island. Watch Angry Inuk for an insider ethnographic exploration, a demonstration that environmental marketing campaigns are damn effective, and a question to consider about the value of human life versus the value of (in this case, nonendangered) animals. For a local example, think spotted owls. One difference is that hunting in this Inuit community—not just for food, but for money—is infinitely more moral and sustainable than most jobs. (JULIA RABAN)
SIFF Says:For most people, a diet of seal meat is unthinkable. However, for director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and her clan in Kimmirut, a small traditional community near Baffin Island, it is ideal and the only fresh protein available in the Canadian Arctic. Seal-hunting became a moral hot topic in the ’70s and ’80s, and the laws to protect seals have a profound effect on the people who live the traditional lifestyle in the Arctic. They used to earn money from commercial sales of sealskin products, which helped subsidize the seal hunt, and share it with the community. Nowadays they struggle to earn a living and stand their ground against pressures from environmental organizations like Greenpeace and animal-rights groups. “We are casualties of a faraway war,” says Arnaquq-Baril, who, together with a new tech-savvy generation of Inuit, campaign and lobby in Europe to challenge negative perceptions of seal-hunting. Armed with social media and their own sense of justice and humor, this group is bringing an indigenous voice into the conversation and presenting themselves to the world as a modern people in need of a sustainable economy. Eight years in the making, Arnaquq-Baril builds this documentary around the voices and actions of her people: hunters, artisans, and the young generation who are passionate advocates for issues vital to Inuit survival.
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