Atanarjuat The Fast Runner

At the dawn of the first millennium, the arrival of a mysterious shaman upsets the natural balance in a community of nomadic Inuit, resulting in the murder of the camp’s leader. Years later, power in the community begins to shift when the tribe’s two best hunters — the brothers Amaqjuaq, the Strong One (Pakak Innuksuk), and Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner (Natar Ungalaaq ) — innocently provoke the new chief’s son, Oki (Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq). After Atanarjuat wins the hand of Oki’s promised wife, the beautiful but flirtatious Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu), in a head punching duel, Oki vows revenge.

When Oki and his friends attempt to kill the brothers in their sleep, Atanarjuat miraculously escapes, running naked for his life across the spring sea ice and eluding Oki with supernatural assistance. He is taken in and nursed back to health by an elderly couple who fled the cursed tribe years earlier. With their guidance and assistance, Atanarjuat regains his spiritual strength, avenges his brother’s death and brings harmony back to the tribe.

Region of Origin

Year of Release



162 minutes


Digital, Color

Previous Screenings

Saturday, October 2, 2021 / 16:40 2021 Schedule


Zacharias Kunuk Thumbnail

Zacharias Kunuk

Born in 1957 in a sod house on Baffin Island, Zacharias Kunuk was a carver in 1981 when he sold three sculptures in Montreal to buy a home-video camera and 27” TV to bring back to Igloolik, Nunavut, a community which had voted twice to refuse access to outside television due to lack of Inuktitut programming. Kunuk co-founded Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. in 1990 with Paul Apak Angilirq, Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn. In addition to the 2001 feature Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, Kunuk has directed more than 30 documentaries and feature films including The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, Maliglutit (Searchers), and the 7-part documentary series Hunting With My Ancestors. He was also executive producer on SGaaway K’uuna (Edge of The Knife), the world’s first Haida-language feature film which premiered at TIFF last year. In 2019, Kunuk, Cohn, and the Isuma collective were chosen to represent Canada at the 58th Biennale di Venezia with One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk as its main video installation along with a new live documentary series called…