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Nakimayuq premiers at Dead North

Sarah Jancke and Ipeelie Ootoova of Cambridge Bay, in collaboration with the Dead North Film Festival, have produced a horror film called Nakimayuq.

Sarah Jancke and Ipeelie Ootoova of Cambridge Bay, in collaboration with the Dead North Film Festival, have produced a horror film called Nakimayuq. The film is about two young huntsmen who venture out on the land for a hunting trek with an overnight stay in an iglu, encountering an unsuspecting incident that would petrify even the most tenacious hunters.

Ootoova is from Pond Inlet but has made his home in Cambridge Bay for the last six and a half years. He has been in the film industry since 2009 in feature films such as Main and White Archer and has worked in commercials, educational videos and with script consultations.

Jancke has also worked on short documentaries for language.

For this project, the pair had to take on a variety of roles. “I was a co-writer, actor, assistant iglu builder and co–producer,” Ootoova said.

Jancke was a co-writer, co-producer, editor, cinematographer, makeup artist, director and she composed music for the film.

The pair both have been following Dead North Film Festival and took the opportunity to be involved with a fantasy, sci-fi or horror project.

Ootoova said horror was the most natural for them to work with for the story ideas they had.

“We chose the title Nakimayuq, using an Inuit word so the people who don’t speak the language will be in suspense wondering what the meaning is,” said Ootoova.

The town of Cambridge Bay was the inspiration behind the film, noting an increase of fox activity around town. They used that idea and put a horror spin on it.

The setting of this film was in and around the couple’s home and in an iglu they built. Other actors involved are friends of Jancke and Ootoova, Ben Angoshadluk from Rankin Inlet along with his partner.

“We don’t have a lot of experience editing and I have mainly worked in front of the camera and with scripts, so it was challenging to pull it all together and we did a lot of research and preparation ahead of time, so it was fun,” Ootooova said.

They are using this film to help build experience and hope to develop more stories from the communities.

“I would like to do films so that our son can see both sides of his family,” Ootoova said. “I want him to be able to grow up watching stories in our language about our people.”

Since 2012, Dead North has hosted 220 films that have been made by Northerners with 195 of those from the NWT, 20 from the Yukon and only five from Nunavut.

“Nunavut is very under-represented but that is not for a lack of talent,” said Jay Bulckaert, co-founder of Dead North.

“We have been wanting to get Nunavut involved in Dead North for a long time and we would love to see a lot more. This year we are really excited to get an entry from our friends in Cambridge Bay, we’ve spent a lot of time there over the years and it’s like a second home, so maybe Cambridge Bay can become the next mecca of film making for Dead North in the coming years,” said Bulckaert.

“We can’t wait to see what the audience thinks of Sarah and Ipeelie’s film.”

Rita Pigalak, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunavut News

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