July 08, 2012

Ice Age documentary stars Alaska Natives

Alaska Natives featured in IMAX documentary

By Mike Dunham[A]nother new film, a documentary titled "The Ice Age," gives us a better idea of how they really looked and acted. Mammoths, giant sloths, sabertoothed cats and other critters from the not-so-distant past are indeed featured in "The Ice Age," now in production from Giant Screen Films and D3D Cinema.

But this "Ice Age," intended to be shown in 3-D and at Imax theaters, will also have some non-digital stars. Real people.

Real Alaskans.

Earlier this year, seven performers--most currently residing in Alaska and all of Alaska Native heritage--tromped through the snow in the Utah mountains. Recreating the experience of the first people to travel across Beringia, the ancient land connection between Alaska and Siberia, they carried stone-age tools and weapons. They wore fur. They cautiously sneaked up on unseen game while an ace crew of cinematographers caught the action with hightech cameras.

The finished project will debut at major museums at the end of this year, with general release in 2013. And there's every possibility that Alaskans--even those who don't live in cities with Imax theaters--will be able to see it in their local communities. And, yes, they'll recognize some of the prehistoric hunters.

The cast features Gabe Tegoseak of Barrow, Elmer Bekoalok of Nome and James Afcan of St. Marys as mammoth hunters. Danielle Apthorp and Andrea Mae of Wasilla are a mother and daughter. An elder woman is portrayed by Delrayne Roy and a boy by Devin Brown Eagle, who live in Oklahoma and Washington, respectively.

"We had a bunch of advisers for this film," said Andy Wood, senior vice president for Giant Screen Films. "Anthropologists, biologists, paleontologists. The consensus was to go with Native Alaskans. It's very much an Alaskan story."
Comment:  Once again, it doesn't seem impossible to find authentic Native performers if you actually look for them.

For more on the Inuit and movies, see Natives and Québécois Partner on Film and National Distribution for On the Ice.

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