Press Kit

Synopsis

In the unprecedented collapse of the once massive George River Caribou Herd – and a subsequent total hunting ban – Inuit in Labrador, Canada, were abruptly confronted with a new reality: life without a fundamental source of food, culture, and wellbeing. Through Inuit voices, HERD tells the story of the social, emotional, and cultural disruptions from cascading ecological change through the voices and lived experience to people deeply connected to the caribou. The film, which was developed over four years of intimate collaboration between the filmmaker and communities, cinematically explores an array of lived experiences, from youth to Elders, hunters to cooks, to ensure that the stories of those living on the frontlines of this ecological crisis are HERD. It is a portrait of the deep interconnections that exist between humans and non-humans, a glimpse of heartbreaking loss and pain felt by entire communities, and an unforgettable and lasting testament of cultural endurance, hope, and resilience in the context of ecological uncertainty.

Logline

HERD is a story of people and caribou, as experienced by Inuit from the Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut regions of Labrador who have been living with caribou declines and a total hunting ban since 2013.  

Trailer

Long Synopsis

In January, 2013, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a 5-year hunting ban on the George River Caribou Herd, a decision made in the wake of rapid declines of the herd’s population. By 2022, with the ban still in place, the continued lack of access to caribou has manifested in cultural, emotional, and physical disruptions for Inuit communities who, for millennia, have had caribou embedded in their way of life. Through the voices of more than 50 Inuit from the Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut regions of Labrador, Canada, and their shared link with caribou, HERD illustrates these complex tensions, interplays, and celebrations that exist at the nexus of humans and animals, and illustrates the cascading social, emotional, and cultural disruptions that come from ecological change.

Caribou was once embedded into the daily lives of many, nourishing collective experiences, cultural resiliency, and deep understandings of place and past. “We celebrated it. We shared it. It was a part of who we were” described long time caribou hunter Derrick Pottle. But now, with caribou on the precipice of extirpation, this historic connection is being unraveled. Putting food on the table has become more challenging and more costly. Stories of the past take the place of experiences in the present. Personal and collective identities have been put into question. Intense emotions of excitement and happiness now substituted for fear and grief. As Dennis Burden shared, “you can never replace the caribou”. 

The film, which was developed over four years of intimate collaboration between filmmakers and communities, is a portrait of the deep interconnections that exist between Inuit and caribou, a glimpse of heartbreaking loss felt by entire communities, and an unforgettable testament of cultural endurance and resilience in the context of ecological uncertainty. 

 

About

Led by Inuit from the Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut regions of Labrador, HERD documents, preserves, and shares Inuit knowledge and experiences with caribou, all through the co-creation of community-based documentary film. Between 2016-2022, we talked with, filmed, and photographed over 80 Inuit from across 12 distinct communities in Labrador; we documented caribou and landscapes from various parts of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut; and we collected archival multimedia from decades in the past. As a result, we gathered over 100 hours of footage, thousands of photographs, and countless memories from knowledge holders who were involved in this work. More information, photos, and writings can be found at: www.inuitvoicesherd.com

Director's Bio

David Borish is a social and health researcher and visual artist pushing the boundaries of using audio-visual methodologies to explore and understand relationships between humans and the environment. His work sits at the interface of documentary film, public health, cultural and social wellbeing, wildlife conservation, and audio-visual research methods. To create this film together, Borish worked in alongside a Caribou Project Steering Committee with experts and leaders from different sectors, disciplines, and knowledge systems, as well as over 80 Inuit from the Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut regions. Previously, he has worked in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in Peru, Uganda, Malaysia, Nepal, and elsewhere to co-create visual stories relating to environmental and social issues. Through film, photography, articles, and creative audio-visual and qualitative strategies, his work is centered around producing both research and storytelling outputs that can be used to inform multiple and diverse audiences within and outside of academia.

Collectively Creating the Film

At it’s core, HERD is about collaboration and partnership, bringing a diversity of life experiences and backgrounds together to share the story of Inuit and caribou in Labrador. Both Inuit and non-Inuit came together from different regions, disciplines, professions, and knowledge systems, with the intention of creating this film through a reciprocal and collective process that would resonate with Inuit experiences. A Caribou Project Steering Committee was formed with members from communities, the Nunatsiavut Government, NunuatuKavut Community Council, the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-management Board, and multiple academic institutions. It was our collective vision to support Inuit storytelling values and traditions, and consistently engage Inuit knowledge holders in the making of the film. Community members supported in filming caribou, people, their communities and lands. We were able to hear from and involve over 80 Inuit from across Labrador through community knowledge-sharing events, summary videos, personalized links with draft versions of the film, and casual phone calls, texts, and Facebook messaging. Their voices, wisdom, and feedback strengthened the film in fundamental ways, ensuring the deep connections between Inuit and caribou were accurately portrayed. We believe this collective filmmaking process is a core part of reconciliation, of supporting Inuit self-representation, and celebrating Inuit self-determination and control over their knowledge, wildlife, and stories.

Inuit Regions

Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut are two distinct Inuit regions in Labrador, Canada. Inuit in these regions have shared a deep and enduring relationship with the land, ice, and animals for generations, including multiple caribou herds such as the George River Herd, Mealy Mountain Herd, and Torngat Mountain Herd. To co-create this documentary film, over 80 Inuit knowledge holders from 12 communities were involved: Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik, and Rigolet from the Nunatsiavut region, Cartwright, Black Tickle, Charlottetown, Port Hope Simpson, St. Lewis from the NunatuKavut region, and North West River and Happy Valley-Goose Bay from the Upper Lake Melville region. 

Press Relations

P: 1-519-546-8364 
E: dborish@mun.ca / david@inuitvoicesherd.com
IG: @davidborishvisuals 

Distribution Inquiries

VTape

Address: 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 452, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3A8

Phone: +1-416-351-1317

Distribution Director, Wanda vanderStoop: wandav@vtape.org

Distribution and Technical Coordinator, Dustin Lawrence: distribution@vtape.org

Website: www.vtape.org

vtape_logo_with_website.tif

Images for Press

Quotes from the film

"Caribou was the reason, and everything else happened after"

- Joey Angnatok, Nain, Nunatsiavut

“It’s not just food and it’s not just fur for clothing and all of that, but it’s just a sense of home”

- Ocean Lane, Makkovik, Nunatsiavut

“Well, it's not only about being able to eat the caribou. It's being able to go out on the land and harvest with your father, or your grandfather... our culture, is what it is, right? I mean that's our makeup"

- Jim Shouse, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NunatuKavut

“The loss of a food, a cultural food, is just as high of an importance as language, as craft, and art, and all the rest of it”

- Judy Voisey, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Nunatsiavut

“Certainly impacted me emotionally. It just tears me down to think that we don't even know how long we're gonna have to wait to get to harvest another caribou”

- Woodrow Lethbridge, Cartwright, NunatuKavut

"You can never replace the caribou"

- Dennis Burden, Port Hope Simpson, NunatuKavut

Social Media

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  • YouTube

Credits

DIRECTOR
David Borish 

PRODUCERS
David Borish
Ashlee Cunsolo
Sherilee L. Harper


CONCEPTUALIZED & LED BY
The Nunatsiavut Government
The NunatuKavut Community Council
The Torngat Secretariat
Ashlee Cunsolo
Sherilee Harper


WITH SUPPORT FROM
The land
The herds


PARTICIPATION
Martin Shiwak 
Dane Shiwak
Fred Shiwak 
Jack Shiwak
William 'Bert' Allen
Sarah Baikie
Belinda Shiwak
Derrick Pottle
Roger Shiwak
Sarah Jensen
Andrea Flowers
Greg Flowers
Nicholas Flowers
Reuben Flowers
Veronica Flowers
John Lucy
Jennifer Jacque Poole
Tim Poole
Morris Jacque 
George Gear
Josephine Jacque
Hanson Jacque
Harold Jacque
Maurice Jacque 
Amos Jacque
Torsten Jacque
Ivy Strangemore
Anthony 'Tony' Andersen
Ocean Lane
Andrea Andersen
Wilson Andersen 
Annie Evans
Toby Andersen
John Winters
Ron Webb



 

Heather Angnatok
Edna Winters
Harry Haye
Andrew Andersen
Jacko Merkeratsuk
Tom Angnatok
Joey Angnatok
Eva Nochasak
Paul Nochasak
Alex Saunders
Dennis Burden
Howard 'Hob' Russell
William Larkham Sr.
Warrick Chubbs
Roy Mangrove
Alexander ‘Sandy’ Campbell
George Morris Sr. 
Susanna 'Aunt Susie' Roberts
Absalom 'App' Williams 
Tony Powell 
George Morris Jr. 
George Bird
Kenneth 'Ken' Martin
Herbert Bird
Anthony Elson
Shawn Holwell
Woodrow Lethbridge
Dwayne Burdette
Susan Dyson
Barry Dyson
Abe Dyson
Patrick Davis
Theodore Ward
Douglas Blake 
William Larkham Jr. 
Jim Shouce
William 'Bill' Russell
Cliff Russell
Jim Holwell 
Henry Lyall
Pauline Andersen 
Mina Campbell
Richard ‘Dick’ Michelin
Carolyn Michelin
Lloyd Pardy
Judy Voisey
Amanda Neville
John Neville
Karl Michelin
Jean Crane
David Wolfrey


 

SPECIAL THANKS TO
Ian Mauro
Marcel Kreutzer
Jason Ryle
The Lumberjack Team
Bryn Wood
Stan Oliver
Donna Carroll
Sherry Turnbull
Sandi Michelin
Amy Kipp
Cate Dewey
Ptarmigan Drive


ARCHIVAL SUPPORT
Morgan Mills
George Lyall
Roger Shiwak
Dick Michelin
Jennifer Price
Randy Edmunds
Andrew Manske
Reuben Flowers
Nick Flowers
Veronica Flowers
Barry Pottle
Connie Pijogge
Iris Allen
Jennifer Poole
Jessica Penny
Lukas John Terriak
Roxi Wolfrey
Samantha Williams


TRANSLATION
Katie Winters

COLOURIST
Artsiom Zartaiski

ARCHIVE FOOTAGE
CBC
PVP Media


LICENSED MUSIC
Twin Flames
The Jerry Cans


IN MEMORY OF
Andrea Flowers
Sandy Campbell
Kenneth Martin
William ‘Bert’ Allen
Howard ‘Hob’ Russell


 

CARIBOU FILM STEERING COMMITTEE
Inez Shiwak
Michele Wood
Amy Hudson
Jamie Snook
Charlie Flowers
Aaron Dale
Meredith Purcell
George Russell Jr. 
Charlene Kippenhuck
Joseph Townsley
Jim Goudie
Ashlee Cunsolo
Sherilee Harper
David Borish


EDITOR
David Borish

FIELD PRODUCER
Inez Shiwak

SOUND DESIGN
David Borish
Taiowa Butenschoen


LEAD CINEMATOGRAPHER
David Borish

DRONE OPERATOR
Eldred Allen

CARIBOU FIELD MANAGER
Aaron Dale

GUIDES/GUARDIANS
Karl Michelin
Henry Lyall
Theodore Ward 
Patrick Ward
Patrick Davis
Jeffrey Keefe
George Morris Jr.
Russell Keefe


STILL PHOTOGRAPHER
David Borish

PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT
Carlee Wright

ANIMATOR
Garth Laidlaw