Igloolik Isuma Productions puts the spotlight on Inuit culture - Krista Uttak wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Nunavut



    IGLOOLIK, NT, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Igloolik Isuma Productions has won
both international acclaim and local support for its films which showcase the
culture and language of the Inuit. In recognition of this success, the
company's vice president, Krista Uttak, 31, has earned BDC's Young
Entrepreneur Award for Nunavut and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in
Winnipeg, Manitoba.
    Isuma, founded in 1991, is Canada's first Inuit independent production
company. Headquartered in Igloolik, with a southern office in Montréal, Isuma
produces independent community-based media to preserve and enhance Inuit
culture and language. Isuma's feature films include the international
box-office success, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner which won the Caméra d'Or for
Best First Feature Film at the 2001 Cannes International Film Festival, and
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen which opened the 2006 Toronto International
Film Festival. "Our first target audience is always our fellow Inuit,"
explains Krista. "We want them to accept our films, respect them and to expect
more."
    Krista is following in the footsteps of her father, Paul Apak, who was
one of the company's four founding shareholders, and who passed away in
December 1998. She became an equal partner in Isuma in 2003, and is involved
in all decision-making, as well as project development and production. "I have
been involved in Isuma since the early 90's," says Krista. "The partners in
this business are patient, creative and ambitious. They inspire me."

    Early struggles

    Isuma struggled when it started making documentaries in the early 1990's.
"What kept the partners going," says Krista, "was a love for what they were
doing. They were passionate about showing our culture. Atanarjuat was the
turning point. It resulted in real support from our community and recognition
from around the world." Today, many of the early documentaries produced by
Isuma are aired on networks such as BRAVO and the History Channel.
    The company is also living up to its commitment to create jobs and build
economic development in Igloolik and Nunavut. In addition to hiring as many
local people as possible to work on its productions, Isuma participates in a
number of community development initiatives. With support from the Canada
Council for the Arts, it helped set up the Arctic's first independent
non-profit video training and access centre, which led to the creation of the
Nunavut Independent Television Network. Isuma also supports video training for
youth, through Igloolik's youth circus and video performance group, Artcirq,
as well as Arnait Video Productions, the first Arctic women's collective
independent production company. Arnait is currently working on Isuma's third
feature film, Before Tomorrow.
    "I congratulate Krista on winning this award. Isuma's unique focus on
telling authentic Inuit stories has led to success on the international scene
while making a valuable contribution to the people of Igloolik and Nunavut,"
says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
    "We are really passionate about what we do and what we show the world,"
says Krista. "It's hard work, and I still have a lot to learn, but it's very
rewarding."

    Young entrepreneurs in the spotlight

    BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week,
providing the opportunity to honour the entrepreneurial spirit and business
success of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each province
and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of their
business concept, its success, growth potential and their community
involvement. The panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business
was started and any special challenges that had to be faced.

    Small Business Week partners

    Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Western Economic
Diversification Canada, Export Development Canada and Rogers. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.

    About BDC

    BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada.
BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and
medium-sized businesses through its complementary financial, investment and
consulting solutions. BDC is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2008. Visit
www.bdc.ca for more information.
    Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange for an interview on October 16:
Media Room: 1-866-515-6033, (204) 985-6251; After October 16: Johanne
Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929


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