Zacharias Kunuk (b. 1957, Kapuivik near Igloolik) won the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2001 for Isuma’s first feature, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner. He is president of Igloolik Isuma Productions, Canada’s first Inuit-owned independent production company, co-founded in 1990 with the late Paul Apak, the late Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn.
Besides being a filmmaker, Zacharias has been active in his community work. He has served on the Boards of Igloolik's Hunters and Trappers Organization and Radio Society; was elected to several terms as Hamlet Councillor including acting as Deputy Mayor; was appointed to the Board of Nunavut Arctic College; and is currently on the Board of Nunavut Development Corporation.
In 1981, Kunuk sold three sculptures in Montreal and brought home the Arctic’s first home video camera. From 1983-1991 he worked for Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in Igloolik, as producer, then senior producer and finally station manager.
As an independent producer through Isuma from 1988 to the present, Zach’s credits include the short dramas Qaggiq (Gathering Place, 1989), Nunaqpa (Going Inland, 1991) and Saputi (Fish Traps, 1993); Isuma’s 13-part TV series Nunavut (Our Land, 1995), broadcast on Bravo! and exhibited at Dokumenta 11; more than a dozen documentaries from Nipi (Voice, 1999), Nanugiurutiga (My First Polar Bear, 2001) and Kunuk Family Reunion (2004), to the more recent Kiviaq vs. Canada (2006), Exile (2009) and currently in production, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change.
Kunuk also is producer of The Fast Runner Trilogy, three ground-breaking Inuit-language feature films that have received worldwide audience acclaim: Atanarjuat The Fast Runner (2001), The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006) and Before Tomorrow (2009).
Besides winning numerous film prizes during the past ten years, Zach is a winner of the National Arts Award and National Aboriginal Achievement Award; in 2005 was named an Officer of the Order of Canada; and in 2008 awarded an Honoray Doctor of Law degree from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.