Je’Vida Marks First Feature Film in the Skolt Sámi Language

An aunt and niece duo reunite at a house they inherited only to explore the aging woman’s past of assimilation in a post-war Finland. Such is the synopsis of Katja Gauriloff’s 2023 film, Je’Vida. Chosen as an Official Selection at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, this black and white picture marks the first feature film in the Skolt Sámi language. One can witness this piece and more at the 6th Annual Sámi Film Festival.

You might remember Katja Gauriloff as last year’s SFF festival curator. Her film, Jussi, won the 2024 Best Documentary Film at the Finnish National Film Awards, and she continues to create films based on her Sámi heritage (thereby uplifting the previously silenced voices of the Sámi people).

The festival – presented jointly by the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in Manhattan – will host screenings at both venues. In addition to Friday’s feature film, this year’s curator, Liselotte Wajstedt (a Sámi multimedia artist from Sweden) chose eight shorts to be shown in two sessions on Saturday as well as virtually from February 8th through February 11th. 

Click image to enlarge.

Based in Stockholm, Liselotte has made two dozen shorts and feature films, most notably her award-winning feature film The Silence in Sápmi as well as Sire and the Last Summer (both of which screened at last year’s festival). For those attending the festival on Saturday in person, a Q&A with the curator will be held at 12pm.

Highlighting female filmmakers, this year’s short film line up includes Áfruvvá – Mermaid (Marja Helander, 2022) about a sea-dwelling creature that represents the soul of those who have drowned and Daughters of the Midnight Sun/Overlander (Ylva Floreman, 1985) which explores the daily lives of Sámi women as they grapple with the progress threatening to overthrow their traditional customs.

As an attendee at last year’s SFF, I’m curious about what this year’s festival has in store for me. I remember most clearly the striving to preserve Sámi culture in a world determined to erase them.

The history-making Je’Vida will definitely be on my roster, and I’m also looking forward to the eclectic mix of shorts on this year’s docket.

© Taylor Beckman (2/7/24) – Special for FF2 Media ®


Click here to view the full 2024 Sámi Film Festival lineup.

Purchase an in-person pass to the Sámi Film Festival.

Purchase a virtual pass to the Sámi Film Festival.

Watch the trailer for Je’Vida on YouTube.

Learn more about Sámi history and culture on Wikipedia.

Click here to read Reanne Rodrigues’s 2023 FF2 post about last year’s festival.


Featured photo: Photo of Katja Gauriloff. Photo Credit = Jukka Gröndahl. Used with permission of Katja Gauriloff. All Rights Reserved.

Middle photo: Map of the Sámi homeland from Wikipedia.

Bottom photo: Still from Je’Vida. Courtesy of Sámi Film Festival (with gratitude to Lori Fredrickson). All Rights Reserved.

Tags: Áfruvvá - Mermaid, Daughters of the Midnight Sun/Overlander, Finland, Finnish National Film Awards, Je'Vida, Jussi, Katja Gauriloff, Liselotte Wajstedt, Marja Helander, National Nordic Museum, Norway, Sámi, Sámi Culture, Sámi Film Festival, Sámi Filmmakers, Sámi Women, Scandinavia, Scandinavia House, Sire and the Last Summer, Taylor Beckman, The Silence in Sápmi, Toronto International Film Festival, Ylva Floreman

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Taylor Beckman (she/her/hers) is a sister, daughter, friend, avid baker, and adorer of Regency-era British television shows. After graduating from Muhlenberg College with degrees in both Psychology and Theatre (acting and directing concentrations), she flew to Europe where she performed as a theatre artist, teaching English in Belgium and France. Once she returned to the States, Taylor pursued a career in acting until the pandemic happened and she changed the trajectory of her life. Taylor is now a student at NYU getting her Masters in Drama Therapy where she hopes to combine her love for theater with the inherent therapeutic qualities that stories possess. When she isn't writing theatrical reviews or profile pieces for FF2, Taylor can be found drinking mint tea and reading a Charlotte Brontë novel. Thank you to Jan and the FF2 Media team for the opportunity to critically engage with people and the art form of performance.
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