‘An absolute powerhouse’: Short film tells the incredible survival tale of Ada Blackjack

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A brand new Alaska brief film tells the story of Ada Blackjack, an Iñupiat lady who survived alone on a distant island after an expedition gone fallacious in 1921.

The film, “Ada Blackjack Rising,” was launched Oct. 12 — Indigenous Peoples Day — and is predicated on Jennifer Niven’s book “Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic.”

“It’s solely a tiny slice of the story. … The primary occasion in Ada’s life that kinds the predominant half of Jennifer Niven’s guide is the two years she spends on Wrangel Island,” government producer and particular results supervisor Paddy Eason stated.

Blackjack was shipwrecked on the island after signing on to an expedition throughout the Chukchi Sea in 1921, the solely lady and Alaska Native of the five-member crew. The lads on the expedition all died, leaving Blackjack to fend for herself.

The film was produced by Holly Mititquq Nordlum and Eason, and directed by Brice Habeger. It options an Alaska Native solid, together with Adelaine Aklaasiaq Ahmasuk, who portrays Blackjack, and Maddy Kiminaq Alvanna-Stimpfle, who narrates in Inupiaq.

Habeger says the film was shot on the tidal flats close to Carr-Gottstein Park in Anchorage and in Shishmaref. The bulk was recorded final winter, however further footage was shot early this yr. Habeger linked with Eason a number of years again relating to a Blackjack characteristic and reached out to Don Rearden, screenwriter for the film.

Adelaine Aklaasiaq Ahmasuk performs Ada Blackjack in the film ’Ada Blackjack Rising. ’ (Film nonetheless from Peak 3 LLC)

Scene from the film ’Ada Blackjack Rising. ’ (Film nonetheless from Peak 3 LLC)

’Ada Blackjack Rising ’ was filmed round Anchorage and in Shishmaref. (Film nonetheless from Peak 3 LLC)

Aside from $200 in expertise charges, Haberger stated, the brief film had no funds. Crew members donated time as a result of they believed in the challenge and the expertise of the staff, he stated.

Rearden had learn Niven’s guide about Blackjack years earlier than, and her story caught with him.

“Particularly for younger, Alaska Native girls, this can be a excellent position mannequin — any individual who’s resilient in the face of absolute horror and catastrophe,” Rearden stated. “She overcame it. Her resilience is one thing that we will all be taught from, whether or not you’re slightly child or an grownup.”

The crew sees the six-minute film as a chance to inform an extended, extra in-depth story of Blackjack. Eason says he may see her story being a characteristic film or miniseries. Rearden says he has even loftier objectives.

“(Blackjack is) an absolute powerhouse hero that little youngsters ought to develop up realizing her identify,” Rearden stated. “There needs to be colleges named after her and streets named after her and there needs to be a statue of Ada. That’s simply how I really feel.”

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