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New Sámi Films a Crowd-Puller: Filled the Venue Twice at Skábmagovat Festival

Jan 26, 2015 10:33 AM

The indigenous film festival Skábmagovat – Reflections of the Endless Night was held for the 17th time in Inari, Finland, from 22 to 26 January 2015. This year, the festival focused on Latin America.

New Sámi Films a Crowd-Puller: Filled the Venue Twice at Skábmagovat Festival

Opening ceremony of the Skábmagovat 2015

The theme entailed showing a wide selection of films and inviting a Mapuche guest director all the way from Chile. Jeannette Paillán offered the festival two documentaries directed by herself on the theme of the exploitation of natural resources in indigenous lands. The festival audience especially praised and applauded to the fiction film Urun Kun (A White Day) by the Yakutian director Michail Lukachevskyi, a film produced with a minimal budget of 7000 euros.

The festival also presented Sámi premieres in the form of music videos, as Ima Aikio-Arianaick’s three new music videos were screened for the first time. The Sámi musician Hilda Länsman, who features in Aikio-Arianaick’s music videos and competes presently for Finnish representation at the Eurovision Song Contest, opened the film festival with a yoik on Thursday, 22 January. Despite a cold spell, the opening attracted a record audience, with 170 persons visiting the snow theatre. At the opening, the festival also presented its new signature video made by the Sámi animator Jouni West.

As expected, the new Sámi films of the Sámi Film Lab in Kautokeino, Norway, attracted a great audience: these fiction films filled the auditorium of the Cultural Centre Sajos twice. One of the screenings was also attended by Andte Gaup-Juuso, the winner of the Finnish Big Brother show who features in the film Sámi Boja (Sámi Boy), and his appearance made the audience extra happy. As concerns the other Sámi productions, Frode Grønmo’s Melkeveien (The Milk Way) on the everyday lives of milk collectors in Northern Norway, and Harry Johansen’s Ivnnit ja eallin (Colours and Life) and Silja Somby’s Bonki – two films with a very warm touch – drew closer to 200 viewers each.

The evening parties were also popular, with the Swedish Sámi Maxida Märak who now had her first concert in Finland drawing the largest crowds.

This year, the festival had altogether 2800 visitors with 490 of them attending the evening concerts. The number of children and young people participating in the festival was 250–300, and altogether 550 visits to screenings and workshops by them were registered.  The overall attendance was at the same level as at earlier festivals. In addition to Sajos, performances were arranged in Siida’s auditorium and in the Northern Lights Theatre, the theatre made out of snow that has become the characteristic of the festival. The number of films shown was higher than ever: altogether 80 films were screened.

The Skábmagovat Film Festival is arranged by the Friends of Sámi Art in cooperation with the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida, the Cultural Centre Sajos, the Indigenous Peoples’ Film Centre Skábma, the Sámi Education Institute and YLE Sápmi.

The event has received funding from the Finnish Sámi Parliament, the Saami Council, the Arts Council of Lapland, Inari Municipality, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Regional Fund of Lapland, the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK), and the Arts Promotions Centre Finland.


The festival has Jenni Haukio, the First Lady of Finland, as its protector.

Further information:

Jorma Lehtola, Artistic Director, tel. +358 50 414 4349

Anne Kirste Aikio, Festival Director, tel. 040-7681689.

Sámi museum, Siida, Inarintie 46, FI-99870 Inari, tel. +358 (0)400 898 212, siida@samimuseum.fi, www.siida.fi

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