LE VOYAGE DE SARA  (2007)

One hour documentary High Definition
Length: 52 minutes

 

Director: Guy Simoneau
Research and writing: Guy Simoneau
Assistant director: Sophie Tarte
Director of photography: Martin Leclerc
Soundmen: Simionie Kanayuk et Philippe Scultéty
Editor: Alain Després
Music: Alain Auger et Taima (Élisapie Isaac)

Local coordinator: Mario Aubin (NASTC)
Production: Productions Grand Nord
Producer : Ian McLaren
Broadcasters: Société Radio-Canada, APTN and TV Cultura Brazil
Distribution: Ciné Fête
International distribution: Film Option International

 "A very moving documentary".
Marie-Andrée Lemay, Le Soleil

"Moving and sometimes disconcerting".
Amélie Gaudreau, Le Devoir

Sara Napatuk was born in Puvirnituk, a remote Inuit village on Hudson’s Bay. She was adopted by a Quebec couple who took her to their home in the south. When Sara turned 12, she resolved discover her native land and her biological family.

 

A note by the director:
The documentary follows the journey of Sara, a 12-year-old Inuit girl, who was adopted at birth by a French-Canadian couple, Nathalie and Stéphane. At the time, Nathalie was working in the North as a social worker, and Stéphane as a dentist.

One day, Sara, entering adolescence, expressed her wish to return to the Far North to know her biological family and to discover her roots. I met Sara and her adoptive family through a friend, Paul Vachon, who suggested that Sara’s adventure would be an excellent subject for a documentary film. When the film project began, Sara was shy and reserved. After a few meetings, she opened up a little, although she was never demonstrative. To me, her demeanour already reminded me of the Inuit, a discreet people.

I went to Puvirnituk, a village of 1600 inhabitants on Hudson’s Bay, during the summer of 2006. I wanted to meet Sara’s biological family to talk with them about Sara’s wish and my film project. I quickly realized that the Inuit sense of time is very different from ours in the south.  Appointments and meetings didn’t happen as I expected. Luckily, I could rely on Patsy Tulugak, my extraordinary interpreter, who lives in Puvirnituk but was studying part-time in Montreal. Patsy introduced me to Sara’s family: Jennie, the maternal grand-mother who had offered Sara for adoption, and her biological mother, Siasie. During our meetings, I wasn’t worried by the long pauses punctuated by brief exchanges in English, French, or Inuktitut: I learned to leave my watch behind during my stay in the North. 

I left Puvirnituk that summer without any promises on either side. My intuition told me I would be back soon to make the film. In March 2007, Sara, her whole adoptive family and her best friend, Véronique, travelled to Puvirnituk on Inuit Air.

In making this documentary, I tried to bring out the relationship between Sara and her mother, Siasie, and the rest of her Inuit family, as well as certain aspects of Inuit culture. The outcome of this journey and this encounter was impossible to guess. The line between what we view as success or failure is very thin. However, it seems that destiny was on our side and trip turned out well. The relation between Sara and Siasie was something spontaneous and “primitive”, in the favourable sense of the word.  The journey revealed a whole new world in Sara, a world she had kept secret until then. 

Guy Simoneau