people of a featherComing to DVD today, Tuesday, February 25: PEOPLE OF A FEATHER

Joel Heath’s examination of the Inuit and their relationship to the eider duck made its debut at Hot Docs in 2011. It went on to screen at Vancouver, DocuWest, United Nations Association, Big Sky, Cleveland, and at numerous environmental fests in San Francisco, Korea, New Zealand, Estonia, and Indonesia, among others.

Attempting to blend ethnography with environmental awareness, Heath approaches the Inuit of Canada’s Hudson Bay both historically, reconstructing their life from a century ago, in an homage to Robert Flaherty’s NANOOK OF THE NORTH; and, in contrast, presently, working with the inhabitants of Sanikiluaq to explore their day-to-day and traditional activities, including the hunting of the eider duck, whose down keeps them warm. Expanding from the latter, the film adds yet another dimension, the observations of a scientific research team looking at the behavior of both the eider duck and the troubling environmental impact of hydro projects in the region. Of these, the historical reconstructions add the least to the proceedings, detracting from the more compelling, and urgent, ecological controversy. Despite this, the beautiful lensing, including underwater and time-lapse photography, presents audiences with a distinct view of the challenges transforming life for both men and fowl today.

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