It finally happened! The Two Lovers and a Bear Premiere at Festival de Cannes. And guess who was there for it. Me -and a handful of other Nunavut film folk.
If you haven't heard of it, Two Lovers and a Bear is a feature film set in the Arctic. Directed by Kim Nguyen (who was nominated for an Oscar for his film Rebelle) and starring Tatiana Maslany and Dane Dehaan, the movie was filmed in Iqaluit. Not only that, Two Lovers and a Bear was produced by Iqaluit's own Ellen Hamilton and features dozens of Iqalummiut as cast, and even more as crew. And this includes...you guessed it! Me!
Thanks to the support of the Government of Nunavut (special shoutout to Linda Qaqqasiq here!), a handful of Nunavummiut were able to travel to Cannes to take in the premiere. I've been in the star-laden city for nearly a week now, watching movies, eating cheese, and enjoying the weather. But tonight - tonight was the premiere, and that's what we all really came for.
So, how was it?! First, here are some responses from the premiere and the after party, which, of course, I live tweeted and snapchatted. And just keep scrolling for my take on the film (completely unbiased, of course). For the entire story, make sure you follow me on Snapchat and Twitter.
REACTIONS AT THE PREMIERE
My Take on Two Lovers and a Bear
Obviously this is a really hard review to write. I acted in the film (I played the airline agent); my partner acted in the film (Skidoo Friend #3); my boss is the producer; I took Dane Dehaan on his first and only official tour of Iqaluit. I am too close to the film to be anything but biased.
In addition, I honestly spent the first twenty minutes looking for people I know, places I recognize, sounds and scenes that remind me of Iqaluit. Each time a familiar face or house appeared on screen, I jumped a little in my seat from glee. Once that novelty passed (or rather, all the Iqaluit cameos were completed), I found myself immersed in a film that, despite my intimate knowledge of its parts, left me touched, entertained, and most surprisingly, surprised. In a good way!
What won't come as a surprise is that the visuals of the film are, frankly, stunning. Endless tundra, shivering snow drifts, ethereal northern lights; it's what we expect and know of Nunavut on film. But Nunavut was well-represented by more than just her natural beauty this time: the Nunavut cast held their own against the veteran stars. Kakki Peter is effortlessly empathetic as Sherrif Tokov, the film's third biggest part - so much so that after the screening, I had people asking me if Kakki is a real cop in Iqaluit. And Joshua Qaumariaq absolutely steals his scene as an affable, bluesy-crooner (life imitating art, eh?) at a party.
Also deserving of a shout out are all the amazing stunt drivers, especially Christine Lamothe and Aidan Stanley, who rode in place of Tatiana and Dane respectively. Those must have been some cold, cold days skidding around and over the frozen bay and mountains, and these two made it look easy.
Now, go read some reviews by actual critics:
I am extremely grateful to have been part of such an exciting project, from the filming to the festival to the premiere. My deepest thanks go to Kim Nguyen for casting me in his film - my first professional acting gig!
When it comes to thanks, I think I speak for all the Nunavut cast, especially those in Cannes, when I say that no one deserves more accolades than Ellen Hamilton. Thank you for bringing this movie to Nunavut; thank you for doing Nunavut justice at the production table; thank you for working so hard to bring three actors to Cannes; thank you for believing in the performing arts in the North. Two Lovers and a Bear owes a lot to you - and so do I.