Sámi film to be the focus of the Göteborg Film Festival

Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival will be putting the spotlight on films from the region’s indigenous Sámi community at its 40th edition, which runs between the 27th of January and the 6th of February 2017.

The Sámi cultural region stretches across large parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The semi-nomadic Sámi people – who make their living from fishing, hunting and reindeer herding – have suffered discrimination for centuries from dominant, incoming populations. But in recent years, more enlightened cultural policies have seen a number of Sámi film-makers and producers emerging to tell Sámi stories as well as the establishment of the Sámi Film Institute.

The film leading the focus is the Swedish film Sámi Blood, directed by Amanda Kernell. The film follows a girl desperate to assimilate into mainstream Swedish culture in the 1930s. This will be the Swedish premiere of the film.

“Sámi film is hotter than ever. That’s why we’re turning the spotlight on the north,” says the festival’s artistic director Jonas Holmberg.

Alongside Sámi Blood, there will be several other new Sámi features and short films screening under the headline Focus: Sápmi.

They include katja Gauriloff’s Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest, about Swiss writer Robert Crottet’s lifelong fascination with Sámi culture and featuring footage of the Sámi people in the 1930s and 40s; Suvi West’s documentary Me And My Little Sister about her sister’s decision to challenge the conservative values of the Sámi by coming out as a lesbian, and Gunilla Bresky’s Son of the Sun about the late multi-disciplinary artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää.


Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.