Skábmagovat 2024

Skábmagovat – the Indigenous Film Festival once again brought together film and arts enthusiasts to Inari to celebrate cultural richness

The Indigenous Film Festival Skábmagovat was held again in Inari from January 25th to 28th, 2024. The attendance figures for the festival held on-site warmed the organizers’ hearts, as the numbers gradually climbed back towards pre-pandemic levels. Approximately 3600 visitors attended the Skábmagovat events in Inari, and additionally, the online festival garnered 3800 views. Altogether, Skábmagovat reached a total of 7400 viewers – a figure indicating significant interest from the audience in Indigenous film art and Sámi culture, which are becoming increasingly prominent year by year.

There were over 30 film screenings, with the most popular being traditionally Sámi screenings. Films such as Katja Gauriloff’s “Je’vida,” Sara Margrethe Oskal’s “Eallogierdu/The Tundra Within Me,” and the screening of “Night of the Sámi” at the Snow Theater gathered full audiences. Additionally, Suvi West’s documentary “Máhccan/Kotiinpaluu” was screened, West was honored with the Skábmagovat Award for her contribution to Sámi film and culture. Young and emerging Sámi director Sunna Nousuniemi presented not only one but two short films during the festival, with “ÁHKUIN” particularly drawing attention and receiving positive feedback as a feel-good film, a welcome addition alongside the weightier themes of Indigenous peoples.

The 2024 festival also saw a record number of international director guests from around the world, including Canada, the Republic of Sakha, Sápmi, and Greenland. Among the main guests were Canadian director, writer, and actor Gail Maurice, as well as producer and actor Mélanie Bray. The duo presented their film “Rosie,” and Maurice also appeared as an actor in the emotionally heavy drama “Bones of Crows,” which depicts the cruel history of Canada’s educational system concerning Indigenous children.

Skábmagovat also hosted numerous discussion sessions and seminars addressing issues and updates related to Indigenous cultures. The most popular discussion was a seminar on the situation of salmon in the Teno River and fishing rights. This discussion was based on two films related to the Teno River: Kati Eriksen’s and Scott Thornton’s “Ruoktojohka/Home River” and Harry Johansen’s “Luossamoraš/Salmon Sorrow,” which premiered at Skábmagovat.

Additionally, the eagerly awaited Skábmaklubba festival club continued during the festival, attracting a full house on both nights with attendees craving for dance and music, enjoying performances by Sámi musicians. A new addition in 2024 was the pre-party for Skábmaklubba held entirely in a snow-built Snow Theater, featuring beats and atmosphere curated by Norwegian Sámi DJ iDJa. Even a stormy snowfall couldn’t dampen people’s spirits as they danced, finding joy and smiles under disco lights in the polar night.

In honor of Skábmagovat’s 25th anniversary, the festival’s artistic director Jorma Lehtola released a historic at the Sámi Museum Siida. The book recounts the unique and distinctive journey of the festival from the 1990s to the present day.

The history of Skábmagovat has now been chronicled for 25 years, and new experiences, emotions, adventures, and celebrations of culture will be created together again next year from January 23rd to 26th, 2025.

The festival is organized by Saamelaistaiteen tukiyhdistys ry in collaboration with the Sámi Museum Siida, Sajos Sámi Cultural Centre, Sámi Education Institute – SOGSAKK, and the Indigenous Film Centre – Skábma.