Gina Abatemarco’s portrait of an Alaskan community threatened by climate change had its world premiere at Berlin earlier this year. It has also screened at Reykjavik, Woods Hole, DOXA, Woodstock, Full Frame, and Poland’s American fest, among other events.
Kivalina, Alaska is a fragile barrier island in the northwest Arctic, home to the Inupiaq people. Filming for over five years, Abatemarco offers a snapshot of life on the island, highlighting traditional hunting and fishing practices, as the community reckons with rising sea levels and government inaction. Debates have been waged for generations about the potential relocation of the village, but there’s no political will. Instead, temporary fixes are implemented, such as a seawall that observers note won’t really protect Kivalina from what is expected. The film is a well-lensed observational ethnography, focusing less on individuals or the climate change issue, and more on the community as a whole.