North

Arctic Winter Games film celebrates 50 years of circumpolar sporting event

The Arctics film was created to mark the 50th anniversary of the games this year.

The film was supposed to premiere at this year's games

Team Nunavut's Dene Games team practices the Pole Push in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. The event includes two teams of four players each grasping the ends of a spruce or pine pole and attempt to push each other out of a marked circle. (Midnight Light Media)

The Arctics film was created to mark the 50th anniversary of the Arctic Winter Games this year.

It was supposed to premiere at the games back in March, but that changed when they were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We didn't get to recognize all these athletes and organizers at the games that we got to work with," said Marty O'Brien, one of the filmmakers with Midnight Light Media.

The games happen every two years, bringing together competitors from the across circumpolar North. Around 2,000 athletes representing seven different countries compete.

The filmmakers followed athletes and organizers from all of the contingents of the games, preparing to compete in what would have been the 2020 games.

Team Nunavut practices snow snake in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. This event originated by throwing a spear along the surface of the snow while caribou, seal, or ptarmigan hunting. (Midnight Light Media)

"The goal was to capture sort of an intimate story from each of the regions, that sort of explains a little bit about where the Arctic Winter Games came from," said Naomi Mark, the other filmmaker who worked on the film.

"As much as possible we were trying to really capture what the spirit of the games were," Mark said.

They focused on three aspects of the games — intergenerational, international and intercultural.

"We're really proud of the film, and proud of the North," Mark said. "For me it was building a sense of pride and an understanding of how interconnected we are across the North."

The movie is now streaming online through CBC Gem.

Coach Thomas Levi oversees his athletes as they practice hand games in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. (Midnight Light Media)

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