Michelle van Beusekom Joins UVAGUT TV

Uvagut TV, Canada’s first 24/7 Inuktut television channel, launched on January 18, 2021.

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The Nunavut Independent Television Network is pleased to announce that industry veteran, Michelle van Beusekom, is working with the Igloolik based not-for-profit as a Senior Advisor to support newly launched Uvagut TV - Canada's first 24/7 Indigenous language television network which started broadcasting to over 610,000 Canadians on January 18, 2021.

"Since November, Michelle has been contributing her knowledge and experience to support myself, the board and our staff as we take this exciting leap into 24/7 broadcasting," says Lucy Tulugarjuk, NITV Chair and Executive Director. "We very much appreciate her expertise and hard work, as well as her collaborative and committed personal style. Uvagut TV is a dream come true for NITV, as we expand our use of media to help keep Inuit culture and language alive for our children and grandchildren. Working with Michelle will help us to ensure Uvagut TV will be around for generations to come."

"Since the late 1980s, NITV and sister organizations in the Isuma Collective have followed a humanist, non-commercial set of artistic and community values aimed at using film and TV technology to help Inuit protect Inuit culture, language, human rights and point of view. They have consistently achieved what many thought was impossible. From the break-out success of Atanarjuat The Fast Runner at Cannes in 2001; the technological breakthrough that powered the launch of the Isuma TV platform; innovations in live production from remote Arctic communities which enabled live broadcasting from The Floe Edge at the Venice Biennale in 2019; and now the launch of Canada's first 24/7 Inuit language television channel. I'm excited and feel extremely fortunate to have been invited to put my skills, knowledge and relationships in the service of this beautiful project. I've always bristled at the commodification of media production, believing that audiovisual storytelling should primarily serve to strengthen and empower communities and culture. Working with this incredible group of people feels like finding home," said van Beusekom.

Van Beusekom brings extensive production and broadcast experience to the new position, where she'll be working with NITV and the broader Isuma group of affiliated companies. She worked in senior roles at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) from 2006 to 2019, serving as Executive Director of the NFB's five English language production studios from 2015 - 2019. During that period, the English Program released a string of critically acclaimed works including Mina Shum's The Ninth Floor; Tasha Hubbard's nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up; Marie Clements' The Road Forward; Jordan Tannahill's Draw Me Close; Eva Cvijanovic's Hedgehog's Home; Astra Taylor's What is Democracy; Asinnajaq's Three Thousand; and Chris Auchter's Now is the Time. Van Beusekom played an instrumental role in shepherding many of the NFB's recent advances for filmmaker representation and equitable practice, including the creation of its Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Most recently, van Beusekom served as Executive Director at the Documentary Organization of Canada, joining the organization just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She steered the organization through the early months of the crisis, supporting the hard-hit documentary community through an exceptionally challenging period with a suite of practical measures, including industry webinars, the creation of a COVID production guide and active lobbying to ensure the unique realities of documentary creators were taken into consideration as industry-wide pandemic measures were announced.

Van Beusekom has also held programming roles at the CBC and the Women's Television Network (now known as W Network), and was one of the founding programmers at Toronto's Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival.

Uvagut TV, Canada's first 24/7 Inuktut television channel, launched on January 18, 2021. Created by Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV) and IsumaTV, it features Inuit-language Inuit-produced programming by Isuma, Kingulliit, Arnait Video, Artcirq, Taqqut, NITV and other independent Inuit producers; and by Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), Inuvialuit Communications Society (ICS) and other media organizations.

NITV is an Inuit-owned and controlled non-profit Northern Online Distributor and Eligible Broadcaster. Founded in 1991 in Igloolik, Nunavut, as a training centre for Inuit community filmmaking, NITV is dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of Inuktut and Inuit culture through the creation and exhibition of Inuit video art linking Nunavut communities through Internet television channels and local access internet-TV, media training and digital literacy initiatives, the production and distribution of Inuktut video and film - and now broadcast television. Isuma is the Inuit filmmaking group that has produced landmark Inuktut-language features including Atanarjuat The Fast Runner (Cannes camera d'or 2001), The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (TIFF Opening Night 2006) and One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (Venice Biennale of Art 2019).


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