The Swedish film Sami Blood [+] has won the coveted 2017 LUX Prize.

Directed by Amanda Kernell, Sami Blood follows Elle Marja, a reindeer-breeding Sami girl who is exposed to the racism of the 1930s and experiences race biology examinations at the boarding school she is forced to attend. Desperate to fit in, she begins to reject her heritage and try to become someone else.

The film beat out BPM (Beats Per Minute) by Robin Campillo and Western by Valeska Grisebach.

The LUX Prize is an annual award that aims to defend European cultural identity, as well as the European film industry.

The films lead actresses, Lene Cecilia Sparrok and Mia Sparro, collected the prize, after which they delivered a statement about the Sámi. They said:

“We are still here; we still exist. Every day, our people see the effects of colonial and racist thinking, as well as climate change. A huge wind farm is going to be built in Norway, in the southern Sámi area, which is going to affect us profoundly. The UN claims our language is almost extinct. Receiving this award feels like retribution for the older generations of Sámi people who have been treated as lesser citizens – and we hope the European Union brings an end to this so that we can all stop thinking in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’.”

Vote for Sami Blood in our audience-awarded Cinema Scandinavia Awards by clicking here. 

You can watch a clip from the film below: