The Grizzlies, a film based on the true story of the Inuit lacrosse team of the same name, directed by Miranda de Pencier, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, ON, this fall. The film was produced by de Pencier’s studio Northwood Entertainment in collaboration with Puhitaq, a video and cultural arts company spearheaded by Iqaluit-based actor and writer Stacey Aglok MacDonald, and award-winning Iqaluit-based filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril.
Following a group of Inuit youth in Kugluktuk, NU—a small community at the mouth of the Coppermine River—in 1998, the 104-minute film chronicles the formation of an all-Inuit lacrosse team under the guidance of a local high school teacher. Initially met with scepticism, the sport provides a vital outlet for a community grappling with one of the highest suicide rates in North America.
Starring Eric Schweig, Emerald Autumn Jade Anergolok Macdonald, Paul Nutarariaq, Ricky Lee Marty-Pahtaykan, filmmaker and actress Madeline Piujuq Ivalu and actor, filmmaker and sculptor Natar Ungalaaq, among many others, The Grizzlies is a story about the galvanizing of a community in the face of intergenerational trauma. “I really hope that it’s something that people will respond to and feel inspired by,” Aglok MacDonald to the CBC. “I know that’s how I feel about it.”
Principle filming for the nine-year project concluded in June 2016 after shooting at various locations from Iqaluit, NU to the University of Guelph, ON. While the film is expected to hit theatres in Spring 2019, there are plans to screen The Grizzlies in Iqaluit prior to its wide release.
The Grizzlies will premiere on Saturday September 8, 2018.