Outside, silent pine forest gently sways in the wind. Inside, warmth from smiles, people and films, north and south. Last week the horizon has welcomed the sun, opening the skies to a prism of colors. Inspiration from the deep night to the light.
Despite the cold spell, more than 2000 people gathered for Skábmagovat – Reflections of the Endless Night. This indigenous film festival held in Inari, Finland, is nested in the Sami cultural centers of Sajos and Siida. This year’s theme definitely celebrated the sun by turning its focus to Latin America. Mapuche from Chile, Peru, Brazil, Amazon, Cree from Canada, Mohawk, Yakutia, Sakha to name a few.
As expected, the new Sámi films of the Sámi Film Lab in Kautokeino attracted a great audience. Sold-out for the two
screenings of the festival. The comfortable and cozy atmosphere of the venues allowed for insightful exchange between directors and the audience. Seminars were held in parallel to the film screenings, stimulating discussions on the issues conveyed in Indigenous films, north and south collaborations and funding sources.
Under the winter stars, people gathered at the Northern Lights Theater, which is totally carved out in snow. Short films and animations enlightened the cold crisp arctic air in this rich atmosphere. Cultural space for Indigenous voices to express themselves is essential. Events like Skábmagovat truly prove how films help in relating to one another.
Photos; Albina Griniute & Selena Cordeau
Selena Raven Cordeau, author for FDCIP and student in the Master’s in Indigenous Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.