The story of a Skábmagovat Festival emerged in the late 1990s. Local cinema enthusiasts began to discuss how to light up the quiet mid-winter of the village of Inari
As Inari is the “capital” of the Finnish Sámi, it was natural to come up with the idea of a Sámi film festival. The festival idea was then extended to cover indigenous peoples in general. Still, Sámi had a central role in launching cooperation between the indigenous nations of the world, already in 1970’s.
January was chosen as the time of the festival because the season means the end of the Endless Night. As Polar Night passes, the sun returns in the north. Thus, Skábmagovat is also a celebration of light.
The programme is based on the idea that each film represents indigenous peoples, and is told by them. The screening of archival films pose an expection. They show how indigenous peoples were presented earlier.
The Film Festival has grown into one of the most international and multicultural winter events in Northern Finland. Skábmagovat has a great importance both locally and in the Northern Scandinavia generally. The festival has established relationships to international festival organisations and players in cinema.
Skábmagovat in Inari 26.-29.1.2023 and online 29.1.-6.2.2023
The Festival takes place at three venues: the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida, the Sámi Cultural Centre Sajos, and the Northern Lights Theatre made of snow.
The Sámi Cultural Centre Sajos is the parliament house of the Finnish Sámi as well as a cultural, educational and competence centre. It is the symbol of Sámi self-government and a living, evolving Sámi culture, and its primary purpose is to foster traditional culture and develop and renew Sámi social life.
The auditorium Dolla in Sajos has 250 seats, and in addition, the Festival can use the parliament hall Solju and the multipurpose hall Dollagáddi.
Dolla | screenings, concerts
Solju | screenings, discussions
Dollagáddi | Skábma Club
The building has an info point and a ticket office, cafe Čaiju, and accessible toilet facilites.
Further information: www.sajos.fi
The Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida is located near Sajos. For more than twenty years, Siida’s exhibitions and events have offered information on the ancient and the living Sámi culture and Arctic nature.
Siida has a 80-seat auditorium, an info point and a ticket office, and cafe-restaurant Sarrit.
Northern Lights Theatre
The Northern Lights Theatre is the best-known and the most stunning trademark of the festival: an open-air theatre of 150 seats that is completely made of snow. It is situated in the midst of a forest on the historically valuable premises of Siida’s Open-Air Museum.
The path, lit by ice lanterns, leading to the theatre through a protected area of ancient monuments provides the audience a peaceful, meditative experience before a magic film night under the starry Arctic sky. The moon, the stars and the possible aurora borealis are included in the ticket.
At best, the temperature at the screenings has gone down to –30˚C (–86˚F). The Festival offers the spectators reindeer hides on which to sit on the snow benches, but remember to take the unique conditions into consideration when choosing what to wear to a screening.
Skábmagovat is literally the world’s coolest festival.
Airport is situated in Ivalo, 50 km from Inari.
Airport transportation to Inari can be booked in advance.
You can also take a taxi from the airport to Ivalo (10 km) and then continue by bus to Inari (40 km).
The railway station is in Rovaniemi, with a connection to the bus to Inari (330 km).
Buses run from Rovaniemi and Ivalo to Inari three times a day.
In Inari village you can find accommodation and restaurants, two grocery stores and a gas station, among other companies in your service. During the festival, Inari’s hotels are usually fully booked, so make sure you do your reservation well in advance. Please take a note, the public transportation within the area is limited.
Do you want to help us organising the festival? Sign up as a volunteer!