Event - Indigenous Cinema: Descending into Motion

Indigenous Cinema: Descending into Motion

02.25.24, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

An illustration of two Inuit characters emerging through a tunnel of ice and snow.

IsumaTV, Still from the animated short, Angakusajaujuq (Shaman's Apprentice) by Dr. Zacharias Kunuk O.C.

Join us for a three-part film series Indigenous Cinema, featuring the programs Blood Horrors on Oct 29, Memories of the Land on Dec 17, and the third and final program Descending into Motion on Feb 25. 


Within the past thirty years, Indigenous cinema has grown to new heights despite the social, economic, and political barriers that Indigenous creators have faced in order to bring their stories to life. What has resulted are extremely creative, innovative, and genre-bending stories that disrupt hegemonic narratives, embody the complexity, history, and experiences of Indigenous communities, and showcase the deep multifaceted talents of Indigenous filmmakers. The films in this three-program series are small windows to those stories, to the collective visioning and world-building created within and by Indigenous communities, from the Nunatsiavut territory to Iximulew to Turtle Island, to here, on Matinecock, Canarsie, Lekawe (Rockaway), and Munsee Lenape land. 


In Descending into Motion, Indigenous thought and cosmovisions are explored through innovative short film animation. The program will feature works such as Angakusajaujuq (The Shaman’s Apprentice) directed by groundbreaking filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, up-and-coming filmmakers Chantal Jung and Michelle Hernandez with their short animated film The Things You Know But Cannot Explain, alongside other exciting shorts. 


RSVP required, click here.


Program Details:

  • Angakusajaujuq (Shaman’s Apprentice) by Dr. Zacharias Kunuk O.C. (21 min)
    • A young shaman must face her first test—a trip underground to visit Kannaaluk, The One Below, who holds the answers to why a community member has become ill.
  • Baigal Nuur (Lake Baikal) by Alisi Telengut (9 min)
    • The formation of Lake Baikal in Siberia is reimagined, featuring the voice of a Buryat woman who can still recall some words in her endangered Buryat-Mongolian language.
  • The Things You Know But Cannot Explain by Michelle Hernandez and Chantal Jung (8 min)
    • Using images and art from Wiyot artist Rick Bartow as its basis, this experimental short explores one reclaiming their identity and culture as an Indigenous person.
  • Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes) by Amanda Strong (19 min)
    • Young, gender non-binary Anishinaabeg collects sap ceremonially with 10,000-year-old shapeshifting Sasquatch in urban Ontario.





Dr. Zacharias Kunuk O.C. Born in 1957 in a sod house on Baffin Island, Zacharias Kunuk was a carver in 1981 when he sold three sculptures in Montreal to buy a home-video camera and 27” TV to bring back to Igloolik, a settlement of 500 Inuit who had voted twice to refuse access to outside television. After working for six years for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation as producer and station manager, Kunuk co-founded Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. in 1990 with Paul Apak Angilirq, Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn. In addition to Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, Kunuk has directed more than 30 videos screened in film festivals, theatres, museums and art galleries. He has honorary doctorates from Trent University and Wilfred Laurier University; is the winner of the Cannes Camera d’or, three Genie Awards, a National Arts Award, and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, and just recently, the 2017 Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. Zacharias Kunuk was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015. 


Alisi Telengut is a Canadian artist of Mongolian origin. She meticulously crafts animation frame by frame, employing mixed media to create movement and explore hand-made and painterly visuals in her work. Alisi is not only a Canadian Screen Award nominee, but also a Québec Cinéma Awards – Prix Iris winner in the Best Animated Film category. Her artistic endeavors have also garnered multiple international awards and nominations.


Michelle Hernandez (Wiyot) is a Native American and Latina filmmaker. She grew up on the Table Bluff Reservation, where she found her love for filmmaking. She has a Masters in Film and Electronic Media at American University in Washington, D.C. and a B.A. at Humboldt State in both Film and Native American Studies. Much of her work focuses on the importance of culture, traditions, and identity, as well as dealing with indigenous subjects. With her work she gives voice to stories that aren’t often told. She is the co-founder of Sugarbush Hill Productions, which she currently runs with her partner, Richie Wenzler. Her latest works include Douk and The Bartow Project.


Chantal Jung (she/they) is a Nunatsiavummiuk and self-taught collage artist, writer, filmmaker, and zine creator originally from Happy-Valley Goose-Bay, NL, Canada (Nunatsiavut). She currently resides as a guest on unceded Muwekma Ohlone territory (San Jose, CA). Chantal has produced animated work for the musician Black Belt Eagle Scout, and her writing and artwork have been featured in Inuit Art Quarterly and on the Inuit Art Foundation’s website. She just wrapped up a stop-motion animation film named ‘Things You Know But Cannot Explain’ as part of the Bartow Project and is a member of an Indigenous-led collective called Indigenous Honeys.


Amanda Strong is an Indigenous filmmaker, media artist and stop motion director currently based out of unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver. She is the owner and director of Spotted Fawn Productions, an animation and media-based studio. A labour of love, Amanda’s productions are collaborations with a diverse and talented group of artists putting emphasis on support and training women and Indigenous artists. Amanda’s work explores ideas of blood memory and Indigenous oral story. Her background in photography, illustration and media extend into her award-winning stop motion animations. Her films Indigo and Mia’ challenge conventional structures of storytelling in cinema and have screened internationally, most notably at Cannes, TIFF, VIFF, and Ottawa International Animation Festival. Amanda has received numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the NFB. In 2013, Amanda was the recipient of the K.M. Hunger Artist Award for Film and Video, and most recently the recipient of the 2015 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Film and Media Artist.


This series is part of The Indigenous Practice Studio (IPS), a new initiative in development at the Queens Museum in partnership with artist and cultural consultant Tecumseh Ceaser. The Indigenous Practice Studio is an experimental program consisting of long-term research, continued learning, programming, and consultation and relationship building with local Native and diasporic Indigenous communities. The Queens Museum acknowledges its occupancy of unceded Indigenous lands and builds towards restorative and non-extractive ways of working with Indigenous artists and communities. IPS reflects the Queens Museum’s ongoing commitment to self-interrogation and recognizes its work as unfinished, with this effort as a starting point.


The Indigenous Practice Studio (IPS) is made possible with support from the Mellon Foundation, New York Community Trust and the TD Charitable Foundation.