Behind the Scenes

Collaboration Between North & South

It was deeply important to the producers of THE GRIZZLIES to create an environment of collaboration between the south and the north – Inuit and non-Inuit – and also to ensure an atmosphere of inclusion and respect in the depiction of this true story of real people.

As part of this commitment, the producers of THE GRIZZLIES created a paid mentorship program that enabled Inuit crew, Inuit and Indigenous actors, Inuit musicians, and Inuit creative collaborators to work on the film in each and every department. THE GRIZZLIES has provided a training ground for future Inuit and Indigenous filmmakers with more than 91% of our cast and more than 33% of our crew being Inuit or Indigenous. THE GRIZZLIES ultimately hired Inuit/Indigenous actors from communities all across the North including: Kugluktuk, Iqaluit, Igloolik, Arviat, Rankin Inlet, Inuvik, Frog Lake, Gjoa Haven, Pangnirtung, Sanikiluaq and Yellowknife.

The script, storylines and dialogue in the movie continually needed to be altered or changed right up until picture lock in order to remain current in our cultural sensitivity. During the editing process, we test screened for Inuit audiences during post-production.

Other highlights of the making of THE GRIZZLIES:

  • Over 600 kids from the Arctic auditioned for roles, including two cast members who are now 2019 CSA nominees (lead actor Paul Nutarariaq and supporting actress Anna Lambe) and up-and-comer Emerald MacDonald, all of whom play students in the film.  The actors have experienced many of the same challenges as their characters, bringing a level of authenticity and sensitivity to the screen.
  • The film features incredible original music by Indigenous artists including three 2019 CSA nominated artists Hyper-T, 666God and DJ Shub for their song, Trials. Other Indigenous artists featured in the film are The Jerry Cans, Sila + Rise, Nelson Tagoona and Juno nominated, Kelly Fraser.
  • Two of the producers (Stacey Aglok MacDonald, who grew up in Kugluktuk, and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril) are from Nunavut.