Being Caribou

Being Caribou


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In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.

Manifesto Point # 4: Work closely with the community partner, but respect each other’s expertise and independence. Some people have called my Filmmaker-in-Residence role as “embedded” in the hospital. I have serious concerns about the term “embedded,” especially in the context of journalists working within the confines of the U.S. army in the war in Iraq. But I can’t help but draw some parallel to the work of Leanne Allison and Karsten Heuer, who “embedded themselves” amongst a herd of migrating caribou in the film Being Caribou (2004), directed by Leanne Allison and Diana Wilson. In their efforts to understand the fragile yet resilient porcupine caribou, it’s pretty clear that all parties truly respected each other’s expertise and independence.

Katerina Cizek
From the playlist: Manifesto for Interventionist Media - because Art is a Hammer

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Being Caribou , Leanne Allison & Diana Wilson, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Leanne Allison
    Diana Wilson
  • writer
    Leanne Allison
    Diana Wilson
  • producer
    Tracey Friesen
  • editor
    Janice Brown
  • cinematographer
    Leanne Allison
  • composer
    Dennis Burke
  • sound supervisor
    Gael MacLean
  • additional cinematography
    Karsten Heuer
  • location sound
    Leanne Allison
    Karsten Heuer
  • maps
    Shelley McIntosh
  • animation
    Shelley McIntosh
  • post-production services
    Rainmaker Digital Pictures
  • transcriber
    Pamela Pellegrini
  • traditional music
    Randall Tetlichi
  • vocals
    Beverly Dobrinsky
    Carmen Rosen
    Bessie Wapp
  • re-recording mixer
    Gashtaseb Ariana
  • audio post facility
    Leo Sound
  • consulting producer
    Trish Dolman
  • development
    Trish Dolman
  • participant
    Stanley Njootli
    James Itzi
    Peter Josie
    Randall Tetlichi
    Walt Audie
  • production clerk
    Christine Sears
  • production supervisor
    Kathryn Lynch
  • marketing manager
    Jo Anne Walton
  • program administrator
    Bruce Hagerman
  • executive producer
    Rina Fraticelli

  • CraigSymonds

    My favourite film I've seen yet on this website

    CraigSymonds, 20 Apr 2013
  • northofbloor

    This film really touched me - caribou are such persistent and beautiful sentient beings. It's important to take a hard look at how humanity disrupts the fragile ecosystem around us and get the message out there that there are consequences to our irreparable actions. I thank the film makers for their journey and for creating such a captivating and essential documentary.

    northofbloor, 25 Dec 2012
  • Deniesjeo

    This was an amazing movie and shows us the importance of making sure that we need to keep this conversation going and to let everyone know that Bush still doesn't know and understand the impact of the life of the caribou has on everyone of us. Thanks so much for not giving up.

    Deniesjeo, 4 Feb 2012
  • pawright

    I looked forward to watching Being Caribou for weeks. Finally I watched it by myself. What a beautiful film; perhaps one of the most important films I have ever seen. It reminded me of the moments where I was closest to our source. I hope to share this with my loved ones soon. Thanks you Leanne, Karsten and Diana. As much as humans need energy, we also need these sacred places, because this is where all of us came from. Without these sacred places we would be lost.

    pawright, 21 Jul 2011
  • oldbuck

    Our family lived there for 6 years. Your film only got to see part of the Journey. Maybe someday the world will under stand. Lets hope your film,and others like it will tell the whole story. This place is wild and should always be wild and not be drilled,and have gas lines run as far as the eye can see. Thank you for your story. I have walked the same trails and know what is at stake. (priceless) yours in conservation. Elton Hunter.

    oldbuck, 19 Apr 2011

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