October 12, 2017 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The National Film Board of Canada’s Ontario Studio in Toronto is now in production on Throat, a visionary feature documentary on the powerful and uncompromising Inuk artist/activist Tanya Tagaq, co-created by Chelsea McMullan (My Prairie Home) and Tagaq, and produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB.
A metaphysical journey through the life and art of Tanya Tagaq, Throat will use her music as an aesthetic and emotional map of the landscape of her experiences, endeavouring to capture the deep interplay between Tagaq’s creative and political voices. The film will be a haunting, evocative, and atmospheric work that eschews a traditional format and pushes boundaries towards emotional honesty, with a 360-degree sound mix that will whirl around the audience like an immersive cyclone, bringing another dimension to the work. As her live performances have been described as unforgettable musical events, her upcoming concert at Toronto’s Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church on Nov. 1 will be filmed by McMullan and her team to become the foundation of Throat.
Tanya Tagaq is an amazing musical force, an experimental artist from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, who has developed an unparalleled creative voice deeply informed by the Inuit throat-singing tradition. She has collaborated extensively with artists including Bjork and the Kronos Quartet while building global acclaim for her solo recordings and live performances. She’s also an outspoken activist and advocate, using her public profile as an opportunity to speak to the tragedies, injustices, and hypocrisies she sees remaining unchallenged in colonial Canadian society.
“Working with Chelsea is easy because we are natural friends,” said Tagaq. “She knows how to make me comfortable and she is incredibly accomplished and talented. She also likes Arctic char, so it was not much effort to win her over.”
For McMullan, who previously blurred the lines between cinematic forms with singer/songwriter Rae Spoon on their acclaimed NFB musical documentary My Prairie Home (Sundance Film Festival), it’s a chance to further push the envelope of documentary authorship, to bypass the traditional filmmaker-subject dynamic and work in true partnership.
“Working with Tanya has been wonderful,” said McMullan. “We’ve developed an extremely fruitful collaboration and I’m excited for it to evolve and grow into the creation of a cinematic experience as immersive, visceral, and immediate as Tanya’s music.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Chelsea again, and embarking on what will undoubtedly be a creative and inspiring journey between these two distinctive artists,” said NFB producer Marin.
Throat will launch in winter 2019.
About Chelsea McMullan
Chelsea McMullan is a Toronto-based filmmaker who makes work that spans both documentary and fiction. McMullan’s films have premiered at Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, and the True/False Film Festival. She has created work for Nowness, Gucci, Chanel and Audi.
My Prairie Home, her musical documentary portrait of gender-neutral singer/songwriter Rae Spoon, won the 2013 Vancouver Film Critics’ Prize for Best Canadian Documentary and garnered a Canadian Screen Award nomination. It is currently in distribution with the National Film Board of Canada.
About Tanya Tagaq
The Arctic-born artist is an improvisational performer, avant-garde composer and experimental recording artist who won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize for the album Animism, a work that disrupted the music world in Canada and beyond with its powerfully original vision. Retribution, her Polaris-nominated follow-up, is an even more musically aggressive, more aggressively political, more challenging, more spine tingling, more powerful masterpiece. Tagaq contorts elements of punk, metal, and electronica into a complex and contemporary sound that begins in breath, a communal and fundamental phenomenon.
Recently appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of honorary Ph.D.s from Laval University and NSCAD University, Tanya Tagaq challenges static ideas of genre and culture and contends with themes of environmentalism and human rights and post-colonial issues. Her music and performance are a complex, exhilarating, howling protest that links lack of respect for women’s rights to lack of respect for the planet and Indigenous rights.
Toronto’s Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church