Still from Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos

Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos

by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
Product Availability
Institutional, Home-Use, Community Screenings
About the Film

TUNNIIT: RETRACING THE LINES OF INUIT TATTOOS is a personal and political documentary from Inuit filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, whose latest film ANGRY INUK has won numerous awards.

For over a century, traditional Inuit face tattoos had been forbidden by the Canadian government and the art-form almost forgotten. Arnaquq-Baril, together with long-time friend and activist Aaju Peter, is determined to uncover the mystery and meaning behind this beautiful and ancient tradition. Together they embark on an adventure through Arctic communities, speaking with elders and recording the stories of a once popularized female art form practiced.

Central to the film is Arnaquq-Baril’s personal debate over whether or not to get tattooed herself. With candour and humour, she welcomes the viewer into her world, to experience firsthand the complex emotions that accompany her struggle. Past meets present in this intimate account of one woman’s journey towards self-empowerment and cultural understanding.

2011  ·  50m  ·  Canada
English, French, Inuktitut
English, French, Inuktitut subs
Festivals and Awards
Indigenous World Film Festival, Official Selection
June 4, 2021
Radical Reels (Guelph, ON )
October 1, 2020
The Decolonizing Lens, Winnipeg Art Gallery (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
February 6, 2020
Dawson College (Montreak, QC)
October 1, 2019
Festival Voix Des Femmes (Liège, Belgique)
October 30, 2019
Employment and Social Development Canada (Gatineau, QC)
May 22, 2019
Indigenous Services Canada (Vancouver, BC)
March 16, 2019
Bill Reid Gallery (Vancouver, BC)
March 2, 2019
Belleville Downtown Docfest (Belleville, ON)
February 26, 2019
Burlington Public Library (Burlington, ON)
February 3, 2019
Astro Theatre (Iqaluit, NU)
February 19, 2019
Ilisimatusarfik (Nuuk, Greenland)
October 20, 2018
Royal Academy of Arts (London, UK)
September 18, 2018
Université de Montréal (Montreal, QC)
September 12, 2018
Nunatsiavut Government (Nain, NL)
August 9, 2018
Cinema Politica Montréal (Montreal, QC)
August 3, 2018
MôTif FIlm Festival (Fairbanks, AK, USA)
July 5, 2018
Hosted by Yukon Film Society, The Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre (Whitehorse, YT)
April 11, 2018
Dawson College (Montreal, QC)
March 25, 2018
Mãoriland International Indigenous Film Festival (Ōtaki, New Zealand)
September 7, 2017
Dene Nahjo (Yellowknife, NWT )
July 13 & 16, 2017
Riddu Riđđu Festival (Samuelsberg, Norway)
June 17, 2017
Vancouver Public Library (Vancouver, BC)
February 28, 2017
Concordia Moving Image Resource Centre (Montreal, QC)
February 20, 2017
NSCAD University (Halifax, NS)
November 4, 2016
Adult Education Center (Puvirnituq, QC)
May 3, 2016
Cinema Politica Charlottetown (Charlottetown, PE)
February 8, 2016
Cinema Politica Concordia (Montreal, QC)
Associate Producer
Charlotte Dewolff
Executive Producer
John Houston
Alethea Arnaquq-Baril

Alethea’s work has truly transcended filmmaking and has become a living, breathing process that doesn’t end when the movie ends.

About the Director

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril

Alethea is an Inuit filmmaker from the Canadian arctic where she runs Unikkaat Studios Inc. In her award-winning APTN documentary TUNNIIT: RETRACING THE LINES OF INUIT TATTOOS  (ImagineNATIVE 2011 premiere) Alethea traveled across the arctic to speak with elders about Inuit tattoo practices and the causes of their near disappearance, before getting her own traditional face tattoos. Alethea directed the well-traveled ICSL short INUIT HIGH KICK, and co-produced with White Pine Pictures EXPERIMENTAL ESKIMOS, a Barry Greenwald feature documentary (Hot Docs, DGC Allan King Award 2010). Alethea directed the NFB animation LUMAAJUUQ: THE BLIND BOY AND THE LOON (Best Canadian Short Drama – imagineNATIVE 2010, Golden Sheaf Award for Best Aboriginal – Yorkton 2011). Alethea directed the animated short SLOTH, one of 15 shorts selected by renowned film programmer Danny Lennon for Telefilm’s Perspective Canada screenings at the Cannes Film Market. Alethea was also an executive producer on Miranda de Pencier’s award-winning THROAT SONG, produced by Stacey Aglok MacDonald (TIFF 2012 premiere, Canadian Screen Award – Best Live Action Short Drama, Academy Awards shortlist 2014). Alethea co-produced ARCTIC DEFENDERS, a feature documentary by John Walker (nominee for DGC Allan King Award 2014, Best Doc – Atlantic Film Fest). Most recently, Alethea directed AVILIAQ: ENTWINED as part of the Embargo Project, premiering at ImagineNATIVE 2014. Alethea premiered her latest film, ANGRY INUK (NFB co-production in association with EyeSteelFilm), a feature doc for broadcast on Superchannel about how Inuit are coming up with new and provocative ways to deal with international seal hunting controversies, at Toronto’s Hot Docs Festival. At Hot Docs, ANGRY INUK received the most viewer ballots to take home the Vimeo on Demand Audience Award and the Canadian Documentary Promotion Award.