Christopher Paetkau established Build Films working on numerous commercial products for clients like the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Churchill Wild, Travel Manitoba, and Oceans North Canada. I’ve filmed everything from polar bears to beluga whales, ballet to baseball, composting to coffee, and a lot in between.
My work is now focused in the Canadian Arctic where I’ve filmed for various National Marine Conservation Area and Marine Protected Area efforts in Darnley Bay, Lancaster Sound, Hudson Bay, and Labrador. My latest film Tallurutiup Tariunga – about Lancaster Sound – was a Finalist at the 2015 Banff Mountain Film Festival.
Most recently, I was awarded the Telefilm Micro-Budget to direct my first feature-length documentary Breaking Ice: The Arctic Uncovered set aboard the Amundsen icebreaker (it’s the ship on the back of the Canadian $50). I also shot the world’s first Virtual Reality experience aboard the ship.
And, recently, I was the Natural History and Drone Operator on Polar Bear Town for the Smithsonian Channel.
I’ve also done extensive work for non-profit organizations. In 2012, I worked for AusAid and Southern Cross University in Australia producing a short piece about two Burmese educators visiting Australia to learn how to incorporate critical thinking into their schools back in Myanmar.
In 2014, I sailed in Lancaster Sound with Students On Ice and Oceans North Canada while teaching teenage Inuit girls how to use cameras to tell their stories. In 2015, I worked with the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee in Darnley Bay teaching community members how to fly drones to monitor beluga whales.
And, in 2016, I teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the University of Manitoba to shoot vignettes about new mothers and maternal health in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Finally, I also host a beluga whale photography course at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre once a year.