Animated film presents Kivalliq research

Two local residents play starring roles in a new animated short film produced by the Kivalliq Wildlife Board and ArctiConnexion.

The film, titled Under the Sea, condenses research on the Hudson Bay’s food chain into a digestible and entertaining conversation between hunter Poisey (Adam) Alogut and biologist Connor Faulkner.

“It was super cool to be able to have the conversations we were actually having on the ice, in the field and bring that into an animated film to share what the project is looking at,” said Faulkner, who is working as an intern biologist for the Kivalliq Wildlife Board while completing a master’s degree at the University of Manitoba.

“It was a realistic video of what actually went on throughout the project.”

It’s Faulkner’s first time acting as a voice actor, where he recorded lines with Alogut in Quebec City.

“There was definitely a learning curve to it for both Poisey and myself,” including lots of laughs and mistakes, he said.

But the two figured it out as recording went on.

“Towards the end, it was just like a conversation between the two of us,” he said. “How it was ultimately meant to be framed was a conversation between a local knowledge holder, a local hunter and an individual who was engaged in scientific research and bridging the gap between those two knowledge bases.”

Initial feedback has been excellent, said Faulkner, with people wanting to include it in school curricula already.

“I think the video did a really good job at making that information and the research findings accessible to this broad wide spectrum of people across the North,” said Faulkner. “But also the people that it has already reached in the south is honestly kind of mind blowing. I never would have imagined it got this big, this quick.”

Faulkner, born and raised in Rankin Inlet, is currently pursuing his master’s project on arctic char diet and flesh colour. He’s studying the fish in both Rankin Inlet and Naujaat to see what similarities and differences the populations have. The inspiration for that project goes back to a 2018 discussion between government officials and hunters and trappers about variations in flesh colour in arctic char.

Faulkner said preliminary research suggests the differences are mostly due to diet, which he readily adds is not new information for those who grew up on the land, but can confirm those findings from a scientific lens.

As he continues work on his master’s project, Faulkner is thankful for the opportunities he’s had with the Kivalliq Wildlife Board and to be part of the new animated film.

“I’m a super fortunate individual to be from Rankin Inlet, to be able to be involved in this research within my home community, my home region,” he said, calling it a dream come true.

Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News