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6th Annual Sámi Film Festival: February 8-11, 2024

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The program includes a variety of contemporary and historical Sámi features, documentaries, and short films. The Sámi Film Festival will feature the selections of guest curator Liselotte Wajstedt. Wajstedt, a Sámi filmmaker from Sweden, is the director of THE SILENCE IN SAPMI (dir. Liselotte Wajstedt, Sweden, 2022) and SIRE AND THE LAST SUMMER (dir. Liselotte Wajstedt, Sweden, 2022), both of which screened at last year's Sámi Film Festival.

The Sámi Film Festival originated as a partnership between the National Nordic Museum and Pacific Sámi Searvi in 2018. Since that time, it has become an onsite event drawing audiences from the East and West Coasts and an online event sharing Sámi film with a global audience.

See below for the full in-person line-up.
Instructions for virtual pass holders:

Opening Night: Friday, Feb. 9, 7:00 pm

  • 99 min.

    From award-winning director and former Sami Film Festival guest Curator Katja Gauriloff, Je’Vida follows an aunt and her niece who’ve never met before drive to Lapland to empty a house they’ve inherited. As it turns out, the withdrawn and distrusting aunt had been a victim of the assimilation policies, and the niece must make a big decision. By taking interest in each other, they find value in themselves and their roots.

    Director: Award-winning director Katja Gauriloff (born 6 December 1972) is well-known for her influential films. Her films have been screened and awarded at various festivals around the world. Canned Dreams and Kaisa's Enchanted Forest have been both part of the Berlinale festival, Kaisa's Enchanted Forest opened the Berlinale NATIVe section in 2017.

    Katja Gauriloff has been awarded at the Finnish National Film Awards (Jussi) for the best documentary film in 2016. Her first feature fiction was Baby Jane (2019). Je'vida is the first feature film in the Skolt Sámi language in history. Gauriloff lives and works in Rovaniemi, Northern Finland.

    Cast: Agafia Niemenmaa (Je’vida as a child); Heidi Juliana Gauriloff (Je’vida as an adult); Sanna-Kaisa Palo, Seidi Haarla, Erkki Gauriloff, Matleena Fofonoff 

    Release year: 2023 

    Country: Finland 

    Language: Skolt Sámi, Finnish with English subtitles

Saturday, Feb. 10, 12:00 pm

  • Join us at noon for a special conversation with Sámi Film Festival Guest Curator Liselotte Wajstedt! Pacific Sámi Searvi's Amy Swanson moderates. This special session is included in a festival ticket for Saturday, February 10—make sure to select this date at checkout.

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2:00 pm (Session 1)

  • 14 min.

    The áfruvvá is a Sámi sea-being, the ghost of a drowned person. Yearning for warmth, she emerges from the sea to a world devoid of humans and experiences humanity through an abandoned museum.

    Director: Marja Helander is a Finnish photographer, video artist, and filmmaker. Helander’s previous short film Eatnanvuloš lottit (Birds in the Earth) was selected for Sundance Film Festival and won the Risto Jarva Prize at Tampere Film Festival and Kent Monkman Award for Best Experimental film at imagine NATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto.

    Cast: Anna Morottaja 

    Release year: 2022

    Country: Finland, Norway  

  • 40 min.

    A film about the Sami people, the original population of northern Scandinavia. Their nomadic life belongs to the past, but for a few short weeks each summer, they return to their mountains to live as before. Their women talk about the price they have paid for progress and of their longing back to their traditional way of life, far north of the Polar Circle. 

    Directors: Ylva Floreman has worked as journalist, documentary filmmaker, writer, and teacher since the late seventies. As long as it has been possible, her method has been to live in the society she has chosen to describe. For example, she has lived with the Sami People, worked in a plastic factory in Croatia,  and so on. She has made film, radio, books, and written an unknown amount of articles.

    Peter Östlund has worked as a cinematographer and director since the 1980s. He has worked on numerous high-class films and quite a few have been awarded. He has won the Guldbagge for best film, and Golden Bear for best short. He has been nominated for a Best Documentary Academy Award. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Filmbanan award.

    Release year: 1985

    Language: Swedish with English subtitles

  • 15 min.

    When a Sami woman is attacked by a man during a blizzard on the tundra while she is herding reindeer, her sister senses that something is wrong, and sets off in search for her. Wrapped in fear and confusion, both women will unite in their fight for revenge. Winner of Best International Short Film at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, and Best Director at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Njuokčamat is a strong visual and exploratory film story that deals with the taboo theme of abuse of women in indigenous communities in Northern Norway.

    Directors: Marja Bål Nango and Ingir Ane Bål Nango

    Release year: 2023

    Country: Norway

    Language: Sami with English subtitles

  • 16 min.

    A meeting between two women in the forest has a strong impact on them both. Can they overcome their traumas?

    A woman with a heavy suitcase approaches another woman in her natural territory – deep in a forest. The meeting has a powerful impact on them both, and no matter how much they try to escape it, something has changed dramatically within them. While present in each other’s minds, they search for ways to overcome their inner conflicts – created due to centuries of societal judgment and repression from society.

    Director: Eili Bråstad is a visual artist working with films, expanded cinema, and live visual performance – in the blurry field between art and film. She is currently based in Oslo, where she is doing an MFA at the Oslo Art Academy. Combining analog processing and new media is what she is currently busy doing, as well as exploring alternative ways of projecting films.

    Eili grew up in the valley Reisadalen in Nordreisa, in the arctic part of Norway, surrounded by beautiful nature and great storytellers. She has both Sámi and Kven roots, and thematically in her work she focuses on this, as well as queer and/or feminist topics.

    Cast: Timimie Märak & Ane-Martha Tamnes Hansgård

    Release year: 2022

Saturday, Feb. 10, 5:00 pm (Session 2)

  • 49 min.

    This is a film about a man and his lineage, and it is the story of a century pervaded by racism, oppression and the persecution of peoples low down on the list of "noble races."

    "[GIVE US OUR SKELETONS!] stands by itself as a record of the injustices suffered by the Sami and a call for understanding and reform. An engaging film… mirrors the history of relationships between native peoples and colonial governments around the world. Could be effectively used in the classroom (high school and college level) as an example of the history and implications of racial typologies."—Visual Anthropology Review

    Director: Pau-Anders Simma

    Release year: 2000

  • 9 min.

    Muohtačalmmit (Snowfall) is an experimental film about the flow of water as a metaphor for Sámi people in the compression of modern times. The film also deals with the meaning of water as a sacred element, pathway, and daily source of sustenance for the Sámi people. The film paints a dystopia of how Sápmi will breathe in the future in the middle of energy and mineral policy pressure.

    Director: Hans Pieski and Arttu Nieminen

  • Ellos Fovsen is about the demonstration against the illegal wind turbines that were set up in Fosen by the Norwegian government, who went above the Supreme Court's ruling and still had them built, creating a still ongoing human rights violation of over 830 days.

    Director: Dennis Møller is an emerging Indigenous director from Greenland, Nuuk with a vision to strengthen Indigenous voices, one story at a time. He has an exceptional talent and a unique eye for photography and storytelling. Born on 10.03.95 in Nuuk, Dennis discovered his passion for filmmaking in his early twenties. His pursuit of his education in filmmaking started at GUX Nuuk, after a brief introduction to filmmaking before he went further with his studies at Ilimmarfik University in Greenland, Noroff, in Oslo Norway, and Oslo Fotokunstskolen, where he further honed his skills as a storyteller as well as a director and gained valuable insights that would later contribute to his work.

    With a career spanning over 5 years, Dennis has become a prominent figure in the world of art. He made his directorial debut with “Don’t Look,” a short horror film that garnered critical acclaim for its innovative and creative choices.

    Outside of his directing career, Dennis leads an interest in photography, art, and gaming, and is actively involved in the Greenlandic filmmaking organization, where he also has a page among his fellow Greenlandic filmmakers and storytellers.

  • 18min.

    This Sámi short explores an alternative universe in Sápmi where they managed to remove the primordial knowledge from the colonists. The film is composed of open, meditative, persistent images from different landscapes in Sápmi, and is a journey to and from these lands.

    Directors: Mihkkal Hætta and Ándaras Leonardsen

    Cast: Mihkkal Hætta, Gáddjá Haarla Pieski, Hildá Länsman
    Release year: 2023

    Country: Sápmi/Norway


  • Liselotte Wajstedt 200_200

    About the Curator

    Award-winning artist and director Liselotte Wajstedt is a Stockholm-based Sámi multimedia artist from Kiruna, Sweden. A prolific filmmaker, Wajstedt has made over two dozen shorts and feature films spanning genres and incorporating diverse techniques including animation, claymation, stop-motion, and superimposition. In addition to her directorial practice, she possesses a background in painting and fine arts.

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