Besides a love for filmmaking, at the heart of the husband-and-wife team that runs Arviat’s IsumaTV is a passion for Inuit culture and broadcasting it for others to enjoy.
“One thing I want to do is keep the culture alive,” said Nuatie Aggark, host and organizer of the show along with husband Evano Jr. “It is important not to lose our language. That’s what I’m working for.”
Evano Jr. has been involved in video since working with the Arviat Film Society in 2007.
“We started with nothing,” he remembered.
Eventually, the society for a camera and some equipment donated, and members invited filmmakers from around Canada to Arviat so they could follow them and learn how to make short stories and documentaries.
After a few years, the film society launched Channel 19 in Arviat, which Evano Jr. ran from the high school.
He and Nuatie had their first child in 2012, which is when they started connecting on video work too.
Evano Jr. remembers having to carry his daughter around on shoots so the filmmaking could continue.
“During the shooting, she knew that she had to be quiet and stay calm,” he said.
That channel was eventually lost during a cable migration in the community, which left Evano Jr. and Nuatie without an outlet for a period of time before IsumaTV, based out of Iglulik, stepped in and asked for their services during Covid.
“They asked us if we wanted to do that, we agreed, so we asked them what we have to do,” said Nuatie about the partnership with IsumaTV, which sees the pair stream one-hour live shows every Thursday evening online and on Uvagut TV.
“We do different kinds of shows like cooking shows, storytelling.”
But launching that during the Covid lockdown was tricky, as the pair couldn’t be on site with interview guests in person.
“(The subjects) had no experience with how to set up this equipment on their own,” remembers Evano Jr., who had to coach them on how to set up the camera and gear.
“I had to call them first or go on Facetime messenger and try to explain everything through cell phone, ‘You have to do that and that and that.’ It was kind of hard for us to do the show, but we went through all that hard work and right now we can go somewhere and do interviews.”
With Covid hopefully in the rearview mirror, the Aggarks – who now have three children together – are excited to keep broadcasting different types of shows that celebrate the culture.
“We are trying to keep Inuit traditions alive through TV and internet,” said Evano Jr.