Monday, January 27, 2014

Sami Shorts at the Nordic Lights Film Festival

Marja Bål Nango
Marja Bål Nango
Last weekend in Seattle the Nordic Lights Film Festival showed a great array of films from the Nordic countries. My friend Julie Whitehorn has posted detailed reviews of four Sami shorts on her blog Seattle Sami. 

All were fascinating in their different ways, and it was encouraging to see that three of them were student films made by Marja Bål Nango, a young Sami filmmaker. In reading about her afterwards I saw that she's been getting a good deal of attention in Norway and in Sapmi for her work. You can read more about her here.  I also read that she's doing a residency at the former home of the great poet, joiker, and multi-media artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää. Read more about him and his foundation here.

I'm reminded that Skabmagovat, the extraordinary Sami and indigenous people's film festival in Inari, Finland, is just ending today. Their focus this year, the 16th winter it's taken place, was Arctic people's films.

As described in the program's introduction by artistic director Jorma Lehtola:
For the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, film has become an important tool both in strengthening the identity and communicating with other peoples. The circumstances of production and the resources available vary, but the field keeps expanding. Therefore, Skábmagovat wants to have a broader look at the area.

Our special theme of the Arctic peoples covers Chukchi nomadism from the eastern corner of Russia, Inupiat drama in a Berlinare-awarded film from Alaska, the wisdom
of Inuit women from Nunavut, terror narration from Greenland, as well as Sámi stories on reindeer, bear men and mining.

I attended this film festival in 2002, in its early days, and wrote about Jorma Lehtola and the festival in The Palace of the Snow Queen. I always meant to go back, but it's not easy getting up to Inari every year. I remember the experience of sitting outside watching films projected on an icy screen in temperatures of minus 20 c. That year the focus was, as always, Sami films, and those made by filmmakers from the Brazilian Amazon. I recall how much I learned in just three days about worlds that would have otherwise been closed to me. Such is the amazing power of film.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Emilie Demant Hatt reading and slideshow in Portland January 10, 2014

The Friday Night Lecture Series

WHEN:  Friday, January 10, 2014, 7:30pm

WHERE:  Portland State University, Cramer Hall 171, 1721 SW Broadway, Portland, Oregon, 97201

TITLE:  Talk and slideshow of the work of Danish artist and early ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt

PRESENTER:  Barbara Sjoholm
Emilie Demant Hatt (1873-1958) lived with the nomadic Sami in 1907-8 and later became a prominent artist in Denmark.  She helped Johan Turi write and publish his book, An Account of the Sami, which appeared in 1910 in an innovative bilingual Sami/Danish edition.  Her own book, With the Lapps in the High Mountains, is both an exciting travel narrative and an early example of participant anthropology.  Translated into English for the first time, it tells the story of her year with the Swedish Sami, and includes her own photographs.
Barbara Sjoholm is an award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, and Danish and Norwegian translator.  Her other books include The Snow Queen:  Winter Travels in Lapland.  Ms. Sjoholm's translation, With the Lapps in the High Mountains, will be available for sale after the lecture.

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The Friday Night Lecture Series is sponsored by the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation (SHF) and Portland State University, Department of World Languages and Literatures.  Lectures are held in 171 Cramer Hall, at PSU, 1721 SW Broadway.  The lectures are free and open to the public.  Refreshments are served next door in the PSU Finnish Room (Room 124, Cramer Hall) after the lecture.

For further information regarding the Friday Night Lecture Series or the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, please contact SHF at 503-977-0275 or see SHF's website: