Where the River Begins

A film by Takashi Sakurai,
Country: USA,
Duration: 13min,
Language: Iñupiaq,
SubtitlesEnglish,
Year: 2003

Aliitchak, an Iñupiak elder living in the Kobuk River village of Ambler, persists in narrating local history and folktales in her native language.  The film follows Aliitchak’s subsistence activities at summer fish camp and her day-to-day activities in her home village.  Where the River Begins explores the struggle of Kobuk River people to maintain their language and cultural identity in a rapidly changing world.
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A Way of Making Life Beautiful

A film by Katrin Simone-Sakurai,
Country: USA,
Duration: 18min,
LanguageYup’ik , English,
SubtitlesEnglish,
Year: 2007

The Yup’ik people have been beautifying everyday objects and tools for centuries. Today, as a result of globalization and mass media, artistic trends are changing rapidly. Many Yup’ik artists straddle the values of two cultures.  This film explores the question of what it means to be a Yup’ik artist today. 
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We Can Almost Fly

A film by Maria Gradin,
Country: Norway,
Duration: 28min,
Language: Norwegian,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2006

The film is a study of the concept of New Circus through a circus group in Tromsø (Norway), Circus Kulta. It consists of children, youth, and a group of professional New Circus performers. In the film, we can follow them from personal challengers to mastering and from practicing to performances.

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Yerv of the Tundra

A film by Zoia Ravna,
Country: Russia,
Duration: 32min,
Language: Norwegian,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2002

Somebody is born to follow the wind—somebody to fight. A group of Nenets reindeer herders once decided to opt-out from the collective system. Do they manage to do it? How? This is the history of the organisation of private reindeer owners “Yerv”, their life and struggle in the difficult natural and social conditions of the Russian Arctic.

Interview with the Filmmaker:
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The Language of My Heart

A film by Sirkka Seljevold,
Country: Norway,
Duration: 35min,
Language: Finnish,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2007

They were not allowed to speak their mother tongue, Kven, at school and they could not understand their teacher’s language, Norwegian. People from the neighbouring country, Finland, were laughing at their ‘old Finnish’. This film is about how experiences with one’s stigmatised mother tongue have life-long consequences on one’s identity, self-esteem, and experience of belonging. We meet Solgunn and Terje from a Kven village, Børselv in Northern Norway. Each in her/his own way takes up a fight for the right to their own mother tongue, the right to a whole identity. The Kven minority population of Northern Norway has been a target of strong assimilation politics for over 100 years. As a result, their language is now dying out. But some brave and determined souls have not given up…

Interview with the Filmmaker:
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Freedom is Here

A film by Sidse Torstholm Larsen,
Country: Greenland,
Duration: 49min,
Language: Greenlandic,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2007

Junk, a 45-year-old man from the town Ilulissat in the Northwestern part of Greenland, most of all treasures his freedom. For him, the kind of living that makes him happy is inconsistent with town-life – every day run by the clock and other people’s decision-making. In the great ice fiord some 30 miles from town, Junnguk and a group of other men are making their living by catching halibut and hunting seals the way it has been done in generations by their fathers, grandfathers, and those before them. Throughout the winter months, Junnguk and his fellows travel by dog sled to the ice fiord spending days in each other’s company while howling their long lines before returning to town with their catch. This is a story about friendship, feeling at home, tradition, modernity in contemporary Greenland, and most importantly: finding one’s path through life.

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Our Precious Norwegian Air

A film by Kristin Nicolaysen,
Country: Norway,
Duration: 37min,
Language: Norwegian,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2003

Mahmoud and Karwan are Kurds from northern Iraq. In 1999 they crossed the Norwegian border hidden in truck containers. They both applied for asylum. We follow their daily life in a small north Norwegian village. Joy, sorrow, hopes, and longing are expressed. After two and three years their applications are turned down. Knowing that returning is to risk their lives, they appeal the rejections. The film point at paradoxes in Norwegian politics towards asylum seekers, and may serve to give some reflections around the question of integration.

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No Terminal!

A film by Vadim Lichatchev,
Country: Russia,
Duration: 46min,
Language: Russian,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2003

The film is a chronicle of a few weeks struggle conducted by a small group of eco-activists supported by Cossacks and locals, against the construction of an ammonia-terminal by the chemical corporation TogliattiAzot. No Terminal! was the slogan on banners near the protest camp and posters, appealing for protests in the small village of Taman on the cost of the Black sea. Blockades of office, arrests, hunger strikes, demonstrations, and protest meetings are a part of the daily life of the eco-activists, contrasted by the quiet resort life in the area where the Cossack’s celebration takes place.

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My Home, My Heartache

A film by Trude Haugseth,
Country: Sweden,
Duration: 31min,
Language: Sami,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2004

Anne Marge (25), is the oldest of four sisters in a Sami reindeer herder family in Northern Sweden. While two of her younger sisters have moved away from the small village, Anne Marge still lives at home, helping her father with the reindeer keeping. Her dream is to be able to stay within the profession of reindeer keeping. But the problem is that reindeer herding today is a job for men… In the film, we get to follow Anne Marge in her life one summer and autumn. We go up to the mountains where they mark reindeer calves and sleep in lavvus, follow Anne Marge to party with her friends and in her life at home. At the same time, Anne Marge shares her thoughts, her hopes, and her doubts about the future with us. We also get to know Svea, Anne Marge’s mother, who has been through the same choices in her youth and puts things in perspective. “My Home, My Heartache” is a film about being a woman in the reindeer herding culture, living in between tradition and modernity, but also includes the universal theme of being young and having to choose how to live your life.

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Longing for Belonging

A film by Beate Mortensen Nesheim,
Country: Norway,
Duration: 41min,
Language: Norwegian,
Subtitles: English,
Year: 2001

Havøysund, a small fishing village in northern Norway. A place of different values for different people. What makes the sense of belonging – or not belonging to this place? The film is portraying different people’s perspectives on life here, as well as the everyday life at the place. The two young girls, Linn and Cathrin (image), want to escape the island. Their interests and values at this point in life, are pulling them away from the place against the cities, but still, it is hard for them to cut or stretch the bonds to their homeplace. Palmer is raised into the world of fish, sea, and docks. He is in some ways a fisherman by his own choice, and at the same time, a fisherman due to the lack of other opportunities Jens lived the Dream that many northerners have: To escape the dark and cold winter season by traveling to a warmer and more pleasant world. In Thailand, he met Phlabphlung. She came with her two sons to live in Havøysund with him and found her place in the community in an unexpected way.

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