Johnny Issaluk

Community: 
Iqaluit/Igluligaarjuk (Chesterfield Inlet)
Languages: 
English, Inuktitut
Category: 
Actor, Performer
Sub-genre: 
Acting, Film, Inuit Games & Skills, Theatre

Biography

Johnny Issaluk is originally from a small arctic hamlet on the coast of Hudson’s Bay in Nunavut called Igluligaarjuk (known as Chesterfield Inlet). His natural acting talent coupled with an impressive physical stature, exceptional athleticism and traditional Inuit hunting and survival skills have led to a series of film and theatre roles for Johnny, most recently including critically acclaimed 'The Breathing Hole' at the Stratford Festival (2017).

Johnny engages deeply with volunteerism and has also served professionally as the Executive Director of the Embrace Life Council; a non-profit organization that endeavours to serve Nunavummiut through suicide prevention, providing support and counseling to residential school survivors and delivering the engaging Inuusivut program teaching photography and filmography to youth. In 2013 Johnny was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal Award, which celebrates the contributions and achievements of Canadians who have dedicated themselves to serving their fellow citizens, their communities and their country.

As an athlete Johnny has been practicing, competing, performing, coaching and teaching Inuit Games for more than 20 years. Johnny’s athletic career has yielded more than 200 medal finishes in regional and national competitions and has culminated in his status as one of the most successful Inuit Games athletes of his generation.

 

Credits/experience

Film

Features

  • Indian Horse 2017
  • Two Lovers and a Bear 2016

Shorts

  • Sila 2018
  • Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes 2014
  • The Orphan and the Polar Bear 2014

Documentary

  • Iqaluit Dawn 2014
  • Katie Chats (TV Series) 2014
  • Inuit High Kick. Inuit Games Performer  2009
TV
  • The Terror 2018
  • Murdoch Mysteries 2016
Live performances
  • Inuit Games and Inuit Drum Dance performer nationally and internationally
Theatre
  • The Breathing Hole, Stratford Theatre Company, Ontario 2017

Among the performances that linger in the mind: Johnny Issaluk, excellent as an Inuit hunter who has good reason to be suspicious of bears; Randy Hughson disintegrating before our very eyes as Sir John Franklin; Miali Buscemi cutting a pair of striking contrasts in showing us the Inuit world then and now; Ujarneq Fleischer and Jimmy Blais in a pair of robust performances as two young hunters.

Stratford can be justly proud of The Breathing Hole. It’s a winner.   - Capital Critics' Circle - Jamie Portman 08/24/2017

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