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Films on IceCinemas of the Arctic$
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Scott MacKenzie and Anna Westerstahl Stenport

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694174

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694174.001.0001

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Frozen in Film: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies

Frozen in Film: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies

(p.59) 3. Frozen in Film: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies
Films on Ice

Ann Fienup-Riordan

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the history of Alaskan Eskimo representations, primarily in Hollywood, as Fienup-Riordan offers a detailed analysis of the career of Inuit film star Ray Mala, who starred in the the 1933 MGM production Eskimo, directed by W.S. Van Dyke, and the first film shot totally in the Iñupiaq language. The chapter also considers the ways in which Alaskan Eskimos have worked within the Hollywood system in a sporadic manner from the 1930s to the present. Fienup-Riordan  also addresses Ken Kwapis’s Hollywood film Big Miracle (2012) before moving on to examine television (such as KYUK-TV), video, and cinematic self-representations of Yu’pik culture in the twenty first century, including as part of community activism in an age of climate change.

Keywords:   Alaska, Yu’pik, Eskimo stereotypes, Hollywood, KYUK-TV, Ray Wise, Steven Seagal, Big Miracle, Ken Kwapis, Ray Mala, WS Van Dyke, Robert Flaherty, Nanook of the North

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