In the province of Quebec, during Fall 2011 and Spring 2012, Eric Schweig plays one of the main characters for the new movie Maïna, a story of a spiritual journey a young woman undertakes in the Great North 3,500 years ago. The script is directly inspired by Dominique Demers novel Maïna. Beyond stunning images and landscapes, Maïna unfolds as an adventure film, coupled with a love story. Maïna is “a film about the knowledge of the other, which plays a lot of similarity and dissimilarity between two completely different cultures, the Innu and Inuit”, said director Michel Poulette. The story unfolds through scenes of hunting, battles and love, bringing characters dressed in period costumes, in a very realistic production.
Maïna (Roseanne Supernault) is the daughter of the Innu leader Mishtenapuu (Graham Greene), who attends a bloody confrontation between his clan and the clan of “Men of the Land of Ice.” Following this confrontation, Maïna chooses a mission that will change her life. To fulfill the promise that she has made to her friend Matsii on her deathbed, she embarked on the trail of their enemies to deliver Nipki (Uapshkuss Thernish), a 11 year old boy that the Inuit have captured. But she was also taken as prisoner by Natak (Ipellie Ootoova) and his brother-in-law Quujuuq (Eric Schweig), and forcibly taken to the Land of Ice.
The forty days of shooting for Maïna took place in the vast natural cathedrals of Mingan Park on the North Shore of Quebec, including the edge of the Magpie River, and the desert areas of northern Quebec (Nunavik). Maïna moved into production in Kuujjuaq in May 2012. “Planning the film’s segments in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, on Quebec’s north shore, and in Kuujjuaq, proved to be a cross-cultural experience that everyone involved in the film embraced”, says producer Yves Fortin.
In an artistic choice that honors Mr. Poulette, he has argued that all the characters in the film had to speak Innu and Inuktitut. In short, no strange accent to discuss in the languages in question, a Hollywood fad that Graham Greene has parodied in the comedy Maverick. To minimize the use of subtitles, the dialogues were minimized. A silence, a look, it also speaks. No character will be doubled, so we will hear Eric Schweig speaks Inuktitut, the language of his ancestors, for the first time on screen.
Scheduled for release in Fall 2013, the French subtitled version of Maïna will be distributed by Equinoxe in Quebec and possibly in France, and its English subtitled version will be distributed by Union Picture in Canada and, if all goes well, in the United States as well.
Director Michel Poulette from Productions Nuit Blanche, and Danny Bergeron from the Canadian production company Wizzfilms, argue that this production is a first film collaboration between white, Innu and Inuit. The Innu, through their leader Jean-Charles Piétacho and Innu Council of Ekuanitshit (Mingan), as well as the Inuit, through the leader Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation, decided to support the project to the point of becoming co-producers.
Screenplay: Pierre Billon
Production: Michel Poulette
Stars: Roseanne Supernault (Maïna), Tantoo Cardinal, Graham Greene, Eric Schweig, Ipellie Ootoova, Natar Ungalaaq and Uapshkuss Thernish.