Historic Premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival for Sámi films

The Sámi film industry celebrates a historic moment as Three new Sámi films premieres at Toronto International Film Festival

The feature film “Eallogierdu / The Tundra Within Me,” directed by Sara Margrethe Oskal, and documentary “Homecoming / Máhccan,” directed by Suvi West and Anssi Kömi, will have their premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.

Also the feature film Jevida, directed by Katja Gauriloff and co-written by Katja Gauriloff and Niillas Holmberg is part of the official selection to TIFF.

This marks a significant achievement for the filmmakers and reflects the high international standard of Sámi cinema.

– It is a historic moment in Sámi film history as three Sámi films have been chosen for the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world’s biggest and most important film festivals. This is a remarkable year for Sámi cinema at TIFF, says CEO Anne Lajla Utsi, at International Sámi Film Institute.

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place in September in Canada’s biggest city, Toronto. It is anticipated that there will be almost 500,000 visitors attending the festival. Anne Lajla Utsi emphasizes that the selection of Sámi films for TIFF demonstrates their ability to compete on an international level.

– This recognition is crucial for the future of Sámi films, opening doors to opportunities and increased attention. Moreover, the popularity of Sámi films on an international scale holds significance for their continued funding and support, says CEO Anne Lajla Utsi, at International Sámi Film Institute.

This recognition holds immense value for the filmmakers
“Eallogierdu – The Tundra Within Me,” is Sara Margrethe Oskals debut feature film. She is thrilled that her film is world premiering in Toronto, where it will be shown to an international audience.

– Out of 5000 films that competed to be part of TIFF, they selected my film to Discovery Program. This validation means the world to me, as it confirms that our work is valued and of an international standard. This is really special for me, and I am so grateful, says scriptwriter and director Sara Margrethe Oskal.

One of the world’s largest and most prestigious film festivals
The Toronto International Film Festival stands as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious film festivals, also holding an A-festival status. This year marks the first time that such a significant number of Sami films have been selected to TIFF. Renowned as one of the industry’s most critical film sales events, the festival attracts buyers from all corners of the globe seeking to purchase and screen films.

– Being part of this prestigious festival is a fantastic beginning for new films, and it holds significant potential for their future success and popularity. The exposure gained from the film festival can lead to valuable opportunities, including potential sales and international distribution. Often, such festivals serve as a launching pad for films to reach a global audience and find buyers worldwide, says Anne Lajla Utsi.

The International Sámi Film Institute has provided funding for these films. The International Sámi Film Institute provides Sámi people with the skills and economic opportunities in developing, producing, and distributing Sámi films in the Sámi language.


More about the films

The documentary Máhccan / Homecomming will have its premieres at 8th and 9th of September at TIFF. The feature films Eallogierdu has it premieres at 11th and 13th of September at TIFF. Je´vida will be screened 14th and 15th September at TIFF.


The film takes viewers on a journey through time, and is about Iida, an elderly Skolt Sámi woman who has abandoned her past under the pressures of assimilation, weaving across three different historical eras to examine the fate of the Indigenous peoples in Finland in the post-war period. Je’vida is the first Skolt Sámi feature film directed by Katja Gauriloff and co-written by Katja Gauriloff and Niillas Holmberg. Je’vida had its premiere earlier this year at the Tribeca International Narrative Competition, captivating audiences and critics.
Director: Katja Gauriloff
Scriptwriter: Katja Gauriloff and Niillas Holmberg
Producer: Joonas Berghäll, Anna Nuru and Satu Majava, Oktober


Eallogierdu / The Tundra Within Me

After living for many years in Oslo, Lena moves back to Northern Norway with her young son to explore Sami gender in an art project. While researching in the wintry tundra, she falls in love with reindeer herder Máhtte – whose mother, the head of the family, disapproves of the relationship. As decisions from the past come to haunt her, Lena struggles to find out whether her and Máhtte’s lifestyles can ever be compatible.
Scriptwriter and director: Sara Margrethe Oskal
Producer: Mona J. Hoel, Freedom From Fear

Máhccan – Homecoming

As museums worldwide are increasingly pressured to return cultural property, co-directors Suvi West and Anssi Kömi share a personal and insightful story about the return of Sámi artifacts — long held in a museum — to their homeland.
Scriptwriter: Suvi West
Director: Suvi West and Anssi Kömi
Producer: Janne Niskala, Vaski Film

TIFF’s Discovery programme is a showcase of cinema and talent from around the world — a place to unearth work that is bold, distinctive, and, above all, passionate. The section has a rich history of championing the first and second features of visionary filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, Joachim Trier, Steve McQueen, Michael Haneke, Chantal Akerman, Julie Dash, Yorgos Lanthimos, Ildikó Enyedi, Jafar Panahi, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Lav Diaz, Barry Jenkins, Alfonso Cuarón, Athina Rachel Tsangari.