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Sámi Film Festival Focuses on Indigenous Women Filmmakers

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Written January 25, 2023

This February, the 5th Annual Sámi Film Festival presents a female-focused lineup celebrating the recent directorial work of Sámi women. Curated by award-winning Skolt Sámi filmmaker Katja Gauriloff, the 2023 Festival will confront pressing issues, such as sexual victimization and assault among Indigenous women in Sápmi, through the award-winning feature documentary The Silence in Sápmi by Liselotte Wajstedt and the short documentary Boso mu ruovttoluotta (or Breathe Me Back to Life) by Sunna Nousuniemi, a personal story on which Gauriloff collaborated. North American debut films include Wajstedt's short Sire and the Last Summer.

The 2023 event is the first in the festival’s history to feature the selections of a Sámi filmmaker. Gauriloff is a Finnish-Skolt director, co-owner of the production company Oktober, and recent Finnish Film Affair top prize award winner for Je’vida, the only film shot in the Skolt Sámi language, which is spoken by approximately 300 people in Finland. For the 2023 Sámi Film Festival, Gauriloff has assembled feature and short narrative and documentary films, as well as music installations, weaving together themes of silence, birth and death, taboo, violence, and nature through the lenses of Sámi women.

“Katja Gauriloff’s creative vision as a director and her personal connection to the Sámi filmmaking community shaped this thoughtful and powerful program of Sámi stories,” said the National Nordic Museum’s Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs Leslie Anne Anderson.

The Sámi Film Festival originated as a partnership between the National Nordic Museum and the Pacific Sámi Searvi in 2018. In 2021, the Festival expanded to include Scandinavia House as a co-presenter, reaching bicoastal and global audiences with onsite and streaming options. The 2023 Festival takes place in-person at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York on February 11 and virtually on February 9–12, 2023.

For tickets and more information on the festival's line-up, see nordicmuseum.org/calendar.