The Living Stone (John Feeney, 1958)

NFBWith its mandate to make Canadians familiar with all the regions of their diverse nation, the NFB paid particular attention to the remote, seldom-visited Arctic, filming over 200 works on Canada’s north and its peoples. New Zealand-born John Feeney directed ten NFB productions between 1954 and 1963, focusing primarily on the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic and garnering two Academy award nominations for Documentary Short Subjects – one for The Living Stone (1958) and the other for Eskimo Artist: Kenojuak (1963). The Living Stone was one of two productions Feeney intended on shooting in Cape Dorset in May 1957 but bad weather forced Feeney to return to Montreal with only his film on Inuit sculpture being completed. The NFB previously collected 24 of its best films on the Far North into a DVD box set, Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories, and currently presents the films as a playlist on its streaming website.

As per the NFB:

This documentary shows the inspiration behind Inuit sculpture. The Inuit approach to the work is to release the image the artist sees imprisoned in the rough stone. The film centres on an old legend about the carving of the image of a sea spirit to bring food to a hungry camp.

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