Main content

People of a Feather

View on The Global Environmental Justice site

People of a Feather is presentd by the Arctic Eider Society and film director Joel Heath. 

Teacher's guide
Please see the extensive teaching guide for background and suggested activites for students age 12 to adult prepared by the Arctic Eider Society.

Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, People of a Feather takes us through time into the world of the Inuit in the northern reaches of Canada. Connecting past, present and future is the Inuit's unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters.

Changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering eastern North America bring modern challenges to these Arctic residents. Inspired by Inuit ingenuity and the amazing properties of the eider feather, the film is a call to action to implement energy solutions that work with nature.


" What what incredible detail ... besides the underwater footage [director Joel Heath] records seasonal changes in time-lapse photography that's far more beautiful in scale and drama than a quick description can do justice. And importantly, he puts Inuit locals in the film in a very carefully paced way, allowing the different rhythms of Northern life to dictate the flow of the film." -- Globe and Mail


"Artful and meditative...a near mystical mix of time-lapse Arctic landscapes, marine life photography, and interwoven imagery of Inuit life." -The Georgia Straight

"As the need for a political response to the crisis is self-evident, Heath opts to focus on the spiritual dimension of this threatened ecosystem, trying to capture the energy of these communities and the movements they carry out — ducks swimming and flying, Inuits traveling through breaking ice by motorboat, a child dancing to music on the radio — which suggest a kind of cosmic energy that animates all life on earth. This is rendered through Heath's stunning use of time-lapse photography of the ice and water currents changing — which, on one hand, conveys the stark immediacy of the issue, while on the other hand, suggesting a supernatural force to which all existence belongs and which transcends human's deformation of the natural order." -Cineaste

"'People of a Feather shows the Inuits fighting to adapt and survive amidst a changing Arctic, as embodied by the eider duck and their warm feathers. Like so many films made in the harsh north, it's sobering to see global warming's effect, inspiring to see how beautiful this untrammeled parts of the world can be and a lot more fun to see it on DVD than go there yourself." -Huffington Post

“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.” 4/5 Stars KATHERINE MONK, POSTMEDIA

“Movie poetry at work.. Astounding.. Compelling.. Entertaining” 4.5/5 Stars THE VANCOUVER OBSERVER

“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

“Painterly images... highly cinematic instances in which traditional ways collide headlong with the modern world” WE VANCOUVER

“Beautifully put together with an artistic sensibility often overlooked in the environmental documentary” RED WIRE


Main credits

Heath, Joel (director of photography)
Heath, Joel (film director)
Heath, Joel (film producer)
Emikotailuk, Shaopik (narrator)

Other credits

Edited by Evan Warner & Jocelyne Chaput; music, Cris Derksen [and 5 others].


Inuit peoples, ecology, dams, Quebec, Canada, reservations, culture, citizen science, social impact, energy solutions ; "People of a Feather "; Global Environmental Justice

Related Films


The stories of five remarkable Native American activists in four communities…

Standing on Sacred Ground: Profit and Loss

From the rainforests of Papua New Guinea to Canada’s tar sands, Standing…