Guidelines for Responsible Filmmaking with the Sámi People and Culture


We are thrilled to announce the relaunch of OFELAŠ – THE PATHFINDER Guidelines for Responsible Filmmaking with Sámi Culture and People, with a new design by Káren-Ann Hurri.

The Pathfinder guidelines are a joint initiative from the International Sámi Film Institute, the Sámi Filmmakers Association, and the Pathfinder Filmmakers reference group. The guide was originally signed in 2021, and we are now relaunching the guide with a new layout and design this year.

The Pathfinder guidelines remain just as relevant today, especially with the significant developments occurring in the Sámi film industry now and the notable increase in interest in Sámi narratives, says Anne Lajla Utsi, managing director, International Sámi Film Institute.

Download the guide here.

Multiple purposes
The Pathfinder guidelines are meant to serve multiple purposes. On the one hand, it is intended as a practical guide for filmmakers who want to include Sámi themes, topics, and persons in their movies concerning how to approach this work in a respectful manner. On the other hand, this document also wants to point out what values we Sámi treasure and provide guidance for avoiding misrepresentation and appropriation. The document emphasizes the benefit of sharing and learning from each other in reciprocity and respect for the freedom of art.

We invite you to collaborate
The main messages of Pathfinder are that we welcome all collaborations that are sensitive and responsible and that value true collaborations where benefits are shared. It is also important for outside filmmakers to be aware of the privilege they hold from the majority of society and that Indigenous filmmakers do not automatically have the same access to funds as they do.

Avoid enforcing stereotypes
Enforcing stereotypical images of Sámi and other Indigenous peoples is damaging, and this causes real harm to our people. There is a long history of outside filmmakers making content about the Sámi people, and very often, it is the single story, the stereotypical images that are reinforced, for example, of the Sámi shaman with the drum. Stereotypes are harmful because they justify prejudice and racism against the Sámi people.

Learn more about Pathfinder
If you want to learn more about Pathfinder guidelines, we encourage you to read the document and try to implement our advice if you are working on a Sámi inspired story. You are always welcome to contact us at the International Sámi Film Institute, as we can advise you. We also have a Sámi Film and Culture Advisory Group that can help.