On The Ice
An act of violence has a powerful impact on the friendship of two young men in this independent drama. Qalli (Josiah Patkotak) and Aivaaq (Frank Qutuq Irelan) are two 17-year-old boys growing up in the Inupiaq community of Barrow, Alaska. While Barrow is at first glance an old-fashioned community cut off from major urban centers and a place where men still hunt seals and walruses to put food on the table, the town shows a few signs of big-city life; the teenagers like to race snowmobiles and listen to hip-hop, and there's also a growing crystal-meth problem. Qalli and Aivaaq have known each other since early childhood and are as close as siblings, but they come from very different households -- Qalli has a tight-knit family and has plans to attend college, while Aivaaq is the son of a single mom and has a pregnant girlfriend to look after. One day, Qalli sees Aivaaq in a fist fight with his friend James (John Miller); both are high on meth, and Aivaaq loses control and accidentally kills James. Rather than report the matter to the police, Aivaaq comes up with a plan to hide the body and let folks believe James has gone missing. Qalli agrees to help out of loyalty, but soon his guilt over the cover up begins to take a heavy toll. On The Ice was the first feature film from writer and director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean.