Filmmakers defend seal hunt

Controversial doc greeted with skepticism during IDFA pitch

AMSTERDAM — Filmmakers Stacey Aglok-MacDonald and Althea Arnaquq-Baril courted controversy at the IDFA on Tuesday with their pitch for Angry Inuk, a controversial project that would concentrate on hunting seals and why the Inuit should continue to have the right to kill them.

Defying animal rights advocates, the Canadian duo forcefully presented the Inuit perspective at the doc festival’s Forum.

‘Sealing is integral to our society,’ said director and coproducer Arnaquq-Baril.

Aglok-MacDonald, who produces, pointed out that hunting by the Inuit isn’t comparable to the large-scale, commercial hunts — ‘like making home gardens, not industrial farms,’ she said. With much of their population impoverished, the Inuit deserve to continue to hunt seals, according to the filmmakers, expressing anger that as a people they ‘rarely have a voice,’ and ‘are tired of being the footnote in the discussion.’

But with only some $15,800 raised of their $700,000 budget, Angry Inuk is truly a seedling project. As Knowledge Network’s commissioning editor Murray Battle put it in a roundtable discussion, the duo ‘have a cause, not a movie.’ But with potential consulting help from EyeSteelFilm and director/cinematographer John Walker, Angry Inuk‘s young producers may get the chance to find their voice in the near future.