FF2 Overview of the 5th Annual Sámi Film Festival

A pregnant widow steals silver from a dead body in order to survive and feed her daughter. A woman suffocates from a goiter in the mountains and reflects more on life than on death. Two young female survivors of sexual abuse refuse to be silenced. These are the powerful stories of Sámi women (indigenous to Northern Scandinavian) as told through the skillful lens of the tribe’s female directors at the 5th annual Sámi Film Festival.

Presented as a partnership between Scandinavia House in Manhattan and the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, this must-see hybrid event is set to take place virtually from February 9-12 and in-person at both venues on February 11 — making it accessible to both bicoastal and global audiences.

Curated by award-winning Skolt Sámi filmmaker Katja Gauriloff, the female-focused film lineup is the first in the Festival’s history to feature the selections of a Sámi filmmaker. Gauriloff, 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 spoken by approximately 300 people in Finland), weaves together universal themes of birth, death and nature, along with pressing issues of violence, assault and sexual victimization, in a series of short narrative films, documentaries, panel discussions and music installations.

“I am happy to have the honor to curate this year’s festival! It’s been a pleasure to include so many wonderful new films by the talented Sámi women filmmakers. The program is a selection exploring strong, meaningful topics with a delicate touch, and includes many genres such as documentary, short fiction, activism, art and even horror.  I hope the program builds conversations about the many important issues these filmmakers hope to raise awareness of.”

(Katja Gauriloff 2/7/23)

From award-winning feature documentary The Silence in Sápmi by Liselotte Wajstedt to the short documentary Boso mu ruovttoluotta (Breathe Me Back to Life) by Sunna Nousuniemi and North American debut of Wajstedt’s short Sire and the Last Summer, this year’s Festival promises to be an eye-opening experience for those looking to explore the values, visions and stories of Sámi culture — all through the lenses of Sámi women.

© Reanne Rodrigues (2/7/23) – Special for FF2 Media®


Click here to view the full Sámi Film Festival lineup.

Purchase an IN-PERSON PASS to the Sámi Film Festival.

Purchase a VIRTUAL PASS to the Sámi Film Festival.

Watch the Sámi Film Festival’s TRAILER on YouTube.

Click here for Wikipedia’s overview of Sámi history & culture.

Click here to read Leslie Coffin’s 2017 FF2 interview with Amanda Kernell about her award-winning film Sámi Blood (now available on Amazon Prime).


Featured Photo by Háldi director Ann Holmgren courtesy of the Sami Film Festival. All Rights Reserved. “Háldi focuses on the unity and power of female relations in Sami tradition and mythology.”

Middle: Map of the Sámi homeland from Wikipedia.

Bottom Photo: Sámi Film Festival’s 2023 curator Katja Gauriloff. Photo Credit = Jukka Gröndahl. Used with permission of Katja Gauriloff. All Rights Reserved.

Tags: Finland, Katja Gauriloff, Norway, Sámi, Sami Blood (2016), Sámi Culture, Sámi Film Festival, Sámi Filmmakers, Sámi Women, Scandinavia

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Reanne is an arts and culture writer based in Manhattan, New York City. She loves telling impactful stories about artists and the value they bring to the world. Reach out to her if you’d like to collaborate on any projects or indulge in a lively discussion over chai at www.reannewrites.com.
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