People of a Feather
People of a Feather
People of a Feather
Item#: POF-960

Running Time: 52 minutes
and 90 minutes
Grades 6-Adult
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
A film by Joel Heath


"Stunning. A chilly warning...Joel Heath’s lyrical examination of the link between hydroelectric power and an endangered Arctic ecosystem...tugs at the heart. Interweaving Inuit life today with re-enactments of the culture 100 years ago, People of a Feather warmly portrays a cold, uncertain present and a worrying future."
– New York Times

"Highly recommended. A very beautiful and sometimes tragic look at the devastating environmental impact of hydroelectric dams, a supposed clean energy resource."
– Educational Media Reviews Online

"Recommended. An in depth look into the lives of the Inuit community of Sanikiluaq in the Belcher Islands and the environmental issues they face. Overall, the documentary is a good introduction to the concerns of the Inuit people in this community and the environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams.”
–Science Books and Films (AAAS)

"The film offers a unique and creative look at how a local ecosystem is connected to global ocean currents and the earth’s hydrological cycle. It has lots to offer both middle and high school classes, as well as those interested in teaching about aboriginal or Native American culture."
–Green Teacher Magazine

"Alternating contemporary footage with historical reenactments, this film chronicles the history of the Inuits. Unfolding slowly, this beautifully shot documentary makes a strong case for preserving the Arctic environment and the Inuit culture."
– Booklist (ALA)

"A devastatingly beautiful picture of two species living in symbiotic union and their changing way of life. Traditional and modern life are juxtaposed, as the Inuit and the Eiders face the challenges posed by changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydro dams powering North America. As the lovely and authentic film People of a Feather suggests, an ecosystem can and does include humans, and might better and more productively be thought of as a home."
-Anthropology Review Database

"Great filmmaking...This spectacular documentary not only sheds light on the survival of a specific Inuit population but also offers important insight into the complexities of global warming. And Heath’s strategy of comparing modern Inuit methods with the ways of the Inuit 100 years ago, re-enacted here, is genius. "
– NOW Toronto

“For a movie that starts off talking about ducks, People of a Feather ends up negotiating nothing less than man’s place, and our role, in the entire life cycle. It’s an undeniably elegant feat, and one that could very well reframe the way you live the rest of your life.”
–Vancouver Sun

“Poetic and artistic... a near mystical mix of time-lapse Arctic landscapes, marine-life photography, and interwoven imagery of present-day and historical Inuit life.”

–The Georgia Straight

“Movie poetry at work…Astounding.. Compelling.. Entertaining”
–The Vancouver Observer



Best Documentary Feature, Berlin Independent Film Festival

Best Film, Vancouver Critics Circle

Audience Choice, Best Environmental Film, Vancouver International Film Festival

Best Feature Documentary, LEO Awards

Best Screenwriting, LEO Awards

Best Feature Film, Reel Earth, New Zealand

Jury Award, Green Film Festival, Seoul, Korea

Bronze and Silver World Medals for DIRECTION and CINEMATOGRAPHY, New York International TV and Film Awards

Environment Award, San Francisco Ocean Film Festival




The Inuit of the Hudson Bay are in a fight for survival of their way of life. For centuries, they hunted and relied upon the Eider duck for its down feathers and food. But starting in the early 1990’s the duck population dropped significantly.

Biologist and filmmaker Joel Heath spent seven winters in the Artic researching the Inuit and the causes for the declining bird population. Featuring Heath’s groundbreaking footage, People of a Feather takes viewers deep into the worlds of both the Inuit and the Eider duck. Scenes of modern day Inuit families are juxtaposed with re-creations from their ancestors' traditions, providing an in-depth look into one of our continent's oldest civilizations and the modern challenges they face. From a wooden shelter on the Arctic shore, Heath filmed the Eider ducks as never before, witnessing their graceful dives below the ocean for food, as well as the impact of changing ice on their population.

Heath discovers the disappearance of Eider birds is a barometer for environmental shifts, largely caused by the massive hydroelectric dams that power eastern North America. Manipulating the flow of water from the dams is altering Arctic sea currents, thus changing the ice flows and migration patterns of the birds and fish.

People of a Feather reveals the dynamic ecological and cultural connections between the Inuit, animals and their Arctic sea ice environment, one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems, and is a call to find energy solutions that work with the seasons of the Earth’s hydrological cycle.


Purchase includes link to the Educational Package, five Lesson Plans and Class Activities to use with the film. Click here to download the summary page for all five of the lessons:

Polynya & Floe Edge Habitats (Gr 8 -12)
Hydroelectricity and Sea Ice (Gr 11- Post-Secondary)
Inuit Ingenuity (Grades 6 - 12)
Ecology of the Arctic Eider (Gr 8 - Post Secondary)
Anthropological Filmmaking (Grade 10 - Post Secondary)