Conor Goddard was set to star in a dog-sledding adventure film by his childhood friend Matthew Hood and his partner François Lebeau. After watching Conor and his son Callum together, the filmmakers saw how special their relationship was and shifted the movie’s story until it became an intimate piece about a father and a son named My Irnik, « my son » in Inuktitut.
Hood wanted to make a movie about his friend who had uprooted from Lachine and chosen a life of adventure in Nunavik, but the film grew into something more.
« The script started with me in a closet with a recorder. I just talked about my relationship with my son, the land, the culture and the dogs. At some point I decided that the script could be a letter to my son for him to read later, » explained Goddard, whose love of the outdoors took him to North where he married Tracy Partridge from Kuujjuaq and had a son.
After months of preparation, Hood and Lebeau flew to the Inuit community in Nunavik to film the self-funded project. They spent almost two weeks filming, with the final cut becoming a 16 minute short film that has won awards at the 2017 Edmonton International Film Festival and Atlanta Docufest.
Reunion up North
The two friends who used to play hockey in the winter and steal summer rhubarb in Lachine, were drawn to the project for different reasons. Hood is a photographer who focuses on nature, wildlife and exploration, and documents remote subjects through images. Goddard fell in love with the North in 2006 and wanted to share its beauty and the Inuit culture, even though it was not his own.
Together, they provide the audience with a visual journey into what Goddard and his family have embraced so wholeheartedly.
« It is hard to sum up, but I would have to say the honesty and wisdom. I have learned so much here. Family values and my thoughts around how we have made decisions as parents. Passing on of knowledge and experiences through adventure, » Goddard says.
The friends also believe that the message of people engaging with their kids on an adventurous level is something all parents can do, but they don’t need to go on a dogsled trip in the arctic to accomplish it.