Alongside the official trailer, additional details have been released for third feature film written and directed by award-winning filmmakers Madeline Ivalu and Marie-Hélène Cousineau. Set in Nunavik shortly after World War II, Restless River (2019) is based on Gabrielle Roy’s 1970 novel Windflower.
Co-produced by Arnait Video Productions and Isuma Distribution International Inc., principle filming for Restless River began in March 2017 in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, QC, and is slated to be released in fall 2019.
Iqaluit, NU, actress Malaya Qaunirq Chapman stars as the young Inuk Elsa Kumachuk, who we follow into motherhood. Her struggle as an independent woman in a changing world is made apparent as her life winds between an unsuitable relationship and the burgeoning rebellion of her teenage son. The Arctic landscape mirrors the character’s story, with her journey emulating the unceasing flow of a winding river. “Elsa draws courage and strength from her rugged land to become a woman as independent as the restless river that cuts across it,” explains Isuma Distribution International in the synopsis for the film.
In addition to Chapman, the film includes performances by Ivalu, Etua Snowball, Matthew York, Nick Serino,Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Patrick Hivon, Marka A. Krupa and Geneviève Rioux. Inuit Art Foundation Board Member Sammy Kudluk and Inuit Art Quarterly Editor-at-Large Taqralik Partridge are also featured.
Many of the costumes and set pieces for the period drama were originals lent by community members or rented to the production. Additional garments worn by actors were collaboratively made at the sewing centre in Kuujjuaq.
In 2008, Ivalu and Cousineau’s debut feature-length production Before Tomorrow (2009) received the Best Canadian First Feature Film Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2013 the pair released their sophomore effort Uvanga, which follows a mother and her 14-year old son as they travel to Iglulik, NU, from Montreal, QC, after the passing of the boy’s father.
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