"On the Ice"
U.S. Dramatic competition
Call it film blanc, since film noir doesn't seem an accurate description of this tense thriller set in an Alaskan town way north of the Arctic Circle. Qalli (Josiah Patkotak) and Aivaaq (Frank Qutuq Irelan) are set to go hunting with their hot-tempered -- and crack-smoking -- friend James (John Miller). Qalli finds Aivaaq and James fighting on the barren ice, gets involved in the tussle and inadvertantly stabs James dead. Then Qalli and Aivaaq try to dump James' body in the Arctic waters. The tension of writer-director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's tight script is when Qalli and Aivaaq try to maintain the lie to members of their close-knit community, especially when Qalli's dad (Teddy Kyle Smith) gets suspicious. MacLean develops strong characters and a nail-biting pace, and fills in the rich details of the Iñupiaq community.
"On the Ice" screens again at: Saturday, Jan. 29, at noon at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City.
- Sean P. Means