TIFF Long Take - Ep. 100: Can a film preserve an endangered language?


The Review/ Podcast/

TIFF Long Take - Ep. 100: Can a film preserve an endangered language?

The producer of Edge of the Knife discusses making the world’s first Haida-language feature film

edgeoftheknife 0HERO
Jan 16, 2019

This week on TIFF Long Take, Geoff sits down with Jonathan Frantz, a filmmaker, producer, and member of Isuma, an Inuit-led media-arts collective founded by Zacharias Kunuk. Frantz recently produced Edge of the Knife, a drama set in the 19th century and directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown. The film is particularly notable as the first feature made entirely in Haida, an endangered language spoken fluently by fewer than 20 people. Edge of the Knife, which features a Haida cast and was made in collaboration with the Council of the Haida Nation, premiered at TIFF in 2018 and will screen as part of our Canada’s Top 10 series in 2019.

Frantz talks about the history and mission of Isuma, the long but rewarding process of making Edge of the Knife, and what he hopes the film will do for the Haida language and nation.

He also discusses working with Edenshaw, Haig-Brown, and Kunuk, how he approaches projects such as this one as a non-Indigenous person, and the best resources for movie lovers looking to see more Indigenous films.


Like the show? There are some really easy actions you can take to help us out:

  • Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you get your podcasts!)
  • Rate and review the show (five stars and a short review will go a long way)
  • Share it with anyone that you think might enjoy it