Sign Petition

Remove "Of the North" from Museum of the Moving Image film festival & Other Film Festivals

1,505 Signatures Goal: 1,000

We believe that films that misrepresent racial minorities should be seriously considered when they are publicly screened, and that the racial minorities that the films centres on should be included in the public discussions following these films. We also want the Museum of the Moving Image to remove "Of the North" from it's First Look 2016 film festival and any future film festivals.

The film has been critically panned and has been denounced as racist by the Inuit community.

The film's director, Dominic Gagnon, has admitted that he was drunk in the last public discussion about the film at Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal, and did not invite any Inuit in the Montreal community to contribute to a public discussion that he claims his film is intended to start. He has also claimed in previous interviews that the only thing he knows about Inuit is from the 1922 film "Nanook of the North," which is controversial in itself as being a fake documentary, displaying staged events in the arctic and claiming them to be real.

The film festival also plans to have a public discussion with the director about the film but has not included any Inuit to participate in this discussion.

This film promotes ignorance and negative stereotypes about Inuit, claiming that all of the footage in the film is from Inuit (which is not true) and therefore is a film made by Inuit. Dominic Gagnon claims that this is a film of Inuit voices, but he has stolen their voices to spread his own message.

In the film, Gagnon:

  • Draws the comparison between an Inuk woman with the backside of a dog,
  • Links traditional Inuit food with an Inuk man puking in a toilet,
  • Mocks Inuit identity by displaying Inuit in a community event playing with sumo wrestling costumes while playing a contemporary Inuit song "Don't Call Me Eskimo" in the background,
  • Implies that the massive oil rigs and resource development depicted in the film is directly influencing Inuit culture and society in Canada when the videos of oil rigs and industry that he uses are videos from Alaska, the Baltic Sea and Russia,
  • Implies that Inuit themselves are actively working and living on these oil rigs that are in fact located in other parts of the world, and,
  • Deceives the audience in believing that he has made a film entirely from Inuit produced videos when in fact 34 of the 123 videos that he uses are not of Inuit, not made by Inuit, and/or not filmed in the north at all. Therefore, 28% of the film is not "of the north."

This film is a broken mirror that reflects a distorted and doctored image of Inuit, made by a man who has no stake in the Inuit community and is far removed from the people who he is representing.

The film is not only misrepresenting Inuit, it is reinforcing painful stereotypes of a marginalized people. It contains scenes that sexualize Inuit women at a time when we are in a crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, which is dangerous and reckless.

The film maker also shifts between being an ethnographer, artist and documentary filmmaker whenever it suits him when defending the film. However, it is not clear if Gagnon has any formal education in anthropology and ethnography, and it's evident that he most likely does not as this film has not gone through any ethical review and he has not consulted with anyone from the Inuit community on how he represents them.

Gagnon also originally used copyrighted material from Inuit artists that he did not ask for permission for.

The film is not only misrepresenting Inuit; it is reinforcing painful stereotypes of a marginalized people. It contains scenes that sexualize Inuit women at a time when we are in a crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, which is dangerous and reckless.

For these reasons, we want "Of the North" to be removed from the First Look festival, and any future film festivals, as it will do more damage spreading an ignorant message and a negative racial stereotype without providing any context or productive argument for discussion. This film and the way that it is being discussed and presented can only damage the Inuit community.

Further articles about the film:

Radio discussion about the film:

10

Highlights

January 10
I believe that this film portrays indigenous people in a demoralizing way and perpetuates the injustices against these incredible people. What is more important is how indigenous communities feel about this film and how it detracts from their culture.
January 10
Petition has reached 1000 signatures! Thank you everyone for your support! The more signatures the better, so please keep sharing!
January 10
Petition has reached 900 signatures!
January 9
I find even the trailer to be offensive. It makes no sense at all. The opening scene is of a helicopter landing on one of Sleipner's oil platforms in the North Sea. "Sleipner forms a central hub for gas exports from the Norwegian continental shelf to Europe and the UK." I don't know of any Inuit working on that platform.
January 9
Petition has reached 800 signatures! Thank you everyone for supporting this petition! Please continue to share this petition and get others to share it!
January 9
I am a MoMI member and ask that this film be removed from the lineup and all future lineups,.
January 9
In 24 hours the petition has reached 700 signatures!
January 9
Petition has reached 600 signatures!
January 9
This film is a misrepresentation of Inuit people. It is offensive and I am desperately trying to raise my Inuit son and daughter to proud of their culture. The intergenerational impacts of residential schools are a huge enough barrier without this film. I beg you to not play this film.
January 9
Petition has reached 300 signatures!
  • Antoinette Lucero
    Antoinette Lucero United States, Albuquerque
    May 14, 2016
    May 14, 2016
    What this "filmmaker " has done is disturbing, ignorant, racist, disgusting, unfathomable, and downright demeaning to the Inuit. This cannot be allowed to continue to be screened or profited from in any way, artistically or otherwise.
  • Martha Hisington
    Martha Hisington United States, Moreno Valley
    May 11, 2016
    May 11, 2016
    I am truly shocked that this atrocity is still being perpetrated. It shows that indigenous people are still "fair game" to exploitation and misrepresentation.
  • Michelle Gordon
    Michelle Gordon United States, Atlanta
    May 11, 2016
    May 11, 2016
    Please stop all screenings of this racist, sexist, inaccurate "documentary." Its award also should be revoked, and the museums and film festivals that have screened it should apologize publicly to the Inuit people. Those who persist in screening this film, now that it's sources and complete lack of research have been exposed, are clinging to old stereotypes and fantasies about Native peoples that justify their social marginalization and exploitation.
  • Emer OToole
    Emer OToole Canada, Montr
    Mar 08, 2016
    Mar 08, 2016
    This racist, colonial garbage belongs to another century. Listen to the indigenous community and their allies, and have nothing to do with "Of the North."
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1505

Signatures

  • 2 weeks ago
    Rune Olwen Germany
    2 weeks ago
  • 2 weeks ago
    jean michel vignot France
    2 weeks ago
  • 2 weeks ago
    Antoinette Lucero United States
    2 weeks ago
  • 2 weeks ago
    Jennifer Grosse Canada
    2 weeks ago
  • 2 weeks ago
    Athena Grill United States
    2 weeks ago
  • 3 weeks ago
    Martha Hisington United States
    3 weeks ago
  • 3 weeks ago
    Michelle Gordon United States
    3 weeks ago
  • 3 weeks ago
    Richard V Trannum United States
    3 weeks ago
  • 2 months ago
    Joel Pedneault Canada
    2 months ago
  • 2 months ago
    Alexia Pinto Ferretti Canada
    2 months ago
  • 2 months ago
    Julie Graff Canada
    2 months ago
  • 2 months ago
    Michel D epatie Canada
    2 months ago
  • 2 months ago
    Gloria Yacinthe Andre Canada
    2 months ago
  • 3 months ago
    Laurie Tretina Canada
    3 months ago
  • 3 months ago
    Joni Low Canada
    3 months ago
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