Anne Lajla Utsi awarded the WIFTI Peace Prize
Women in Film and Television International awards the WIFTI Peace Prize to CEO of the International Sámi Film Institute
The first WIFTI Peace Prize is awarded to Anne-Lajla Utsi, CEO of the International Sámi Film Institute, for her tireless work to spread Sámi stories to the world.
The WIFTI Peace Prize is co-founded by Helene Granqvist, outgoing President of WIFTI, and Tsiako Abesadze, founder of WIFT Caucasus, with support from Wade Channell, founder of Damn Fool Productions, to spotlight a person in the film and TV landscape who is an ambassador for inclusion, sustainability, and peace.
– WIFTI is built on a foundation of solidarity and desire for an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful world, which respects all our differences. The WIFTI Peace Prize rewards the efforts of embracing peace, even while experiencing tension, discomfort and historical challenges. The prize honors the art of storytelling and the process of building constructive relationships. Anne Lajla Utsi’s work symbolizes the core of the WIFTI Peace Prize, says Helene Granqvist, outgoing President of WIFTI.
The inaugural WIFTI Peace Prize ceremony took place Saturday, September 23, during the celebration of Women in Film LA’s 50th anniversary, at WIFTI Helsinki Summit 2023 – Facing the Future, where 120 filmmakers from six continents gathered.
At the awards ceremony, Anne-Lajla Utsi received a unique pendant designed by Kenyan jeweler Adele Delak. The cinematic qualities of Adele’s designs have led her jewelry being featured in Beyonce’s ”Black is King” and Netflix’s ”Sense8”.
Bright future for Sámi culture
In her speech, she said she shares the award with all the incredible Sámi- and other Indigenous filmmakers.
– It is a profound honor to receive the first-ever WIFTI Peace prize. I share this award with all the incredible Sámi and other Indigenous filmmakers who I am so lucky to work alongside with. Receiving the WIFTI Peace Prize means a lot to me personally, but it is crucial in a greater sense because in an unstable world with war in Europe and the upcoming truth and reconciliation processes in the Nordic countries, this award symbolizes the strong impact film has for building understanding and peace. The WIFTI Peace Prize encourages us to focus on our bright future for Sámi culture, languages, and way of life. Giitu, says Anne-Lajla Utsi, CEO of the International Sami Film Institute and inaugural recipient of the WIFTI Peace Prize.
The founders’ intention is that the WIFTI Peace Prize will be developed into the WIFTI Peace Fund, which will provide financial support to female filmmakers from conflict areas, with the aim of bringing their stories to the world. The WIFTI Peace Prize will be awarded every other year in connection with a WIFTI Summit.
Women in Film and Television International
Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) is a global network dedicated to advancing the professional development and achievement of women working in all areas of film, video and digital media. The first WIF chapter was established in LA in 1973. Today there are approximately 70 Women in Film networks around the globe, and WIFTI was established in 1997 to connect all chapters into a united global voice.