February 17, 2012

National distribution for On the Ice

Film with novice Eskimo cast opens in theaters

By Rachel D'OroTwo Inupiaq teenagers from a remote Arctic town find themselves at the center of a tragic killing brought on by a crystal meth-fueled fight during a seal hunt in the frozen North. The childhood best friends try to cover up the death but struggle to elude suspicions, forcing them to confront the limits of friendship and forgiveness.

The fictional dilemma is the heart of "On the Ice," a thriller filmed in Barrow in 2010 with novice Inupiat actors. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival entry will make its theatrical premiere today in New York and in Anchorage and Fairbanks, then expand to cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco.
And:For the filmmakers, it was important to capture the setting. It was crucial to cast Inuit people as Inuit people.

"I didn't want to cast Japanese people or Korean people, which is what I grew up watching," said its New York-based director and screenwriter, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean. "It's just like, no way. That has to stop."
Comment:  Once again, if you want to cast Native actors, you can do it. It just requires extra work, which Hollywood's racist studios aren't willing to do.

For more on On the Ice, see AIFI's 2011 Winners and Hip-Hop Culture in Alaska.

Below:  Josiah Patkotak plays Qalli in "On the Ice."

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