The Festival is held in January, and it is the main forum of Sámi cinema and an annual meeting place for indigenous peoples. It highlights a world and a narrative tradition that are seldom communicated by the mainstream meadia. The Skábmagovat Festival aims strengthening cooperation, community and dialogue between indigenous peoples. Film is an ideal way of sharing information, feelings and world views.

Movies tell about attitudes, challenges and images of today’s culture. The programme is based on the idea that each film represents indigenous peoples, and is told by them. The screen archival films pose an expection. They show how indigenous peoples were presented earlier. The Film Festival has grown into one of the most international and multicultural winter events in Northern Finland. Skábmagovat has a great importance both locally and in the Northern Scandinavia generally. The festival has established relationships to international festival organisations and players in cinema.

As Inari is the “capital” of the Finnish Sámi, it was natural to come up with the idea of a Sámi film festival. The festival idea was then extended to cover indigenous peoples in general. Still, Sámi had a central role in launching cooperation between the indigenous nations of the world, already in 1970’s.

January was chosen as the time of the festival because the season means the end of the Endless Night. As Polar Night passes, the sun returns in the north. Thus, Skábmagovat is also a celebration of light. The small village of Inari – with less than a thousand inhabitants – offers a cosy setting for an international event. The central players of Sámi culture are all situated within a kilometre of the heart of the festival: the Sámi Parliament, the Sámi Museum, the Sámi Cultural Centre, the Sámi Radio, the Sámi Handicraft Centre, the Sámi Education Institute, the Sámi Archives, and the Sámi Library. Skábmagovat has been awarded several prizes: the Art Award of Lapland in 2007, the State Prize for Art in 2012, and the Helmi Award of Pohjolan Osuuspankki in 2018.

Find the programme here.