A neglected orphan and a kind little girl encounter one of the most dangerous land spirits from Inuit folktales—the Amautalik. This huge creature wanders the tundra, looking for children or lone travellers. When the Amautalik finds the two children far away from the safety of their camp, she is certain of her prize. But she didn’t count on the little orphan’s quick-thinking response.
7 minutes, stop-motion animation
The animated short film The Amautalik is adapted from an Inuit folktale that has been shared by the Caribou Inuit from the Canadian Arctic for countless generations.
This story introduces us to two very common themes or messages in Inuit folktales. The first is the mistake of mistreating or neglecting orphans. Life is tough in the Arctic, and a child without a parent was often considered a burden. However, anytime an orphan character appears in a traditional Inuit story, he or she is mistreated or underestimated, which is always a mistake. The second theme or message is the value of thinking through a problem. Inuit stories always show how wisdom and quick thinking are more important than strength, or any other advantage a person might have.
In an attempt to transport the audience to the Far North, we decided to use stop-motion puppets shot in a green screen studio environment. Then, we created a digital Arctic environment with photographs of actual Arctic plants, rocks, bones, and other elements. Because of these production choices, I think the “look and feel” of this film is unique and authentic.
Directed by Neil Christopher
Produced by Louise Flaherty and Neil Christopher
Based on the book Stories of the Amautalik by Neil Christopher, published by Inhabit Media
Screenplay by Neil Christopher
Narrated by Laakuluk Williamson Bathory
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory (The Amautalik)
Aasivak Paul Baril (Aviuq)
Gabrielle Aleeasuk Pelky (Nilak)
Best Children’s and Youth Production, Yorkton Film Festival (2015)
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