This documentary shows the inspiration behind Inuit sculpture. The Inuit approach to the work is to release the image the artist sees imprisoned in the rough stone. The film centres on an old legend about the carving of the image of a sea spirit to bring food to a hungry camp.
Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.
When director John Feeney set out for Cape Dorset, Baffin Island in the spring of 1957, it was with the intention of shooting two documentaries, one on Eskimo stone carvers and one on the community itself. Bad weather and other factors made it impossible to complete the shooting of the community film. Instead, Feeney concentrated on the carvers’ film. This short film would be blown up to 35 mm and distributed theatrically in Canada and abroad and would eventually earn an Oscar® nomination.Albert Ohayon
From the playlist: The 1950s: Television and the Move to Montreal