For 500 years the Norse Greenlanders made their home in the wilderness. In 1450, they disappeared without a trace.
But what if there was one left? The mystery of the Norse people first caught my attention in 2016 when I read an article by an Ernest writer on the tupilak, the haunting, cursed figurines that were crafted from bones and awful things to bring wickedness on the enemies of the inuit. The rich, written and illustrated mythology of the Norse made their sudden disappearance – without serious archaeological evidence as to any reason why – even more compelling as a story. And so began a two year project of researching and drafting. The challenge was in telling a story with only one character and a bleak winter landscape, that was on the one hand compelling and on the other avoided the wilderness porn of an SUV advert.
So I’m thrilled to announce the launch of Tupilak, our latest, longest and most ambitious short film yet, starring Lily Taylor (Beachcomber, Plenty, James) and Alex Newton (Citric Acid, Jerusalem), shot and edited by Ashley Hughes (who has worked his visual magic on eight films with me from 2017’s Beachcomber back to 2011’s Tantamount to Treason), and featuring a stunning score from the musical genius of Beachcomber, Jordan Dobbins. Matt Ceo’s striking poster design plunges us straight into the crucible in which our protagonist, Saga, finds herself. Haunted by demons and the wilderness, how will the last of the Norse Greenlander’s survive?
We were delighted to hold our first screening among friends and family in London’s wonderful Hoxton Cabin bar and events space at the end of January. Thirty guests joined us to watch the film, which we finished (in typical fashion) just a couple of hours before, working through the night on the final mix. Since then, the team has been working hard on festival submissions and preparations for some ‘deep dive’ exploration into our process, the history behind the film, and our responses to the Greenlanders’ plight. We’re excited to be launching podcast episodes as well as more posts here in the very near future.
Watch this space for more details.