After experiencing a traumatic event in Igloolik (an Inuit hamlet in Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk Regionin Nunavut), Uyarak leaves her community and family in Nunavut to live in Montréal. When Covid-19 lockdowns close off the Canadian Arctic from the rest of the world, Uyarak is further separated from her closest friend, eldest sister, Saqpinak. This extreme situation blurs the linesof both the fictional lives of the sisters, and the non-fiction lives of the film’s directors, Lucy Tulugarjuk and Carol Kunnuk, who play the sister. The film becomes a series of vignettes of heartache and healing – both in the dramatic based on-true-events narrative, and the lived reality of these characters and creators.
Uyarak doesn’t remember much about one terrible night of domestic violence, but Saqpinak does. Through Zoom calls, Uyarak talks about healing from years of trauma and abuse, and how the counselling sessions she goes to, and other cultural reconnections, are helping her heal. At the same time, Saqpinak is raising a family and hosting live shows about her community. Things are difficult at home – Saqpinak herself is experiencing domestic abuse at home but is waiting to talk about this to Uyarak when she can get home.
When Covid-19 restrictions ease, Uyarak is finally able to travel home to Igloolik. At home, she embarks on a deeper healing journey visiting with family and elders, in town, and out on the land. Uyarak and Saqpinak share more stories and support one another in their short time together before Uyarak must return to Montréal.
Carol Kunnuk is a filmmaker working in independent television and film with Isuma for over 25 years as a writer, camera operator, production supervisor, assistant director, actor, and editor. Her personal work includes the short, Being Prepared (NFB), and creator/director of the documentary, Attagatuluk. Carol currently directs and produces Welcome to my Qammaq, a weekly live television show broadcasting across Canada on Uvagut TV.
Lucy Tulugarjuk is an award-winning actor, creative performer, and the Executive Director of Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV). NITV created Canada’s first 24/7 Inuit language television station, Uvagut TV. Lucy is the co-writer, director of Tia and Piujuq, and assistant director for Zacharias Kunuk’s, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk. In addition to her work in film and television, Lucy is a skilled Inuktitut translator.