Media release 25.1.2020 Skábmagovat Prize to Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers


Film director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers has been awarded the Skábmagovat Prize 2020 for her work on indigenous film. The prize was given to Tailfeathers at the 22nd Skábmagovat Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival on Saturday 25th January, at the snow-built Northern Lights Theater in Inari. 


Tailfeathers is a Blackfoot-Sámi filmmaker, producer, actor and activist. Tailfeathers, who grew up in Canada, has strong ties to his father’s home area in the Norwegian side of Sápmi where she has e.g. worked as an actor at the Beaivváš Sámi National Theater.


Tailfeathers graduated from Vancouver Film School in 2006, and she has made numerous short films on activism, social justice and issues that indigenous peoples face. Her previous short films include Bloodland (2011) which criticizes the oil industry, A Red Girl’s Reasoning (2012) which comments on the murders and disappearances of indigenous women, and Bihttoš – Rebel (2014), a film about her Sámi background.


Tailfeathers’s first feature film, co-directed with Kathleen Hepburn, The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open, has already won several awards, and it was the critics’ choice as the best Canadian film of 2019. The film, which premiered last year in Berlinare, is about a chance encounter between two women, one of them escaping domestic violence. The film was shown at Skábmagovat Film Festival on Saturday 25th January in a screening that was crammed full.


“With this award, we want to show how valuable her work is especially for the Sámi film community. Tailfeathers’ career highlights how work for indigenous cinema is global, not just tied to one place. She is an inspiration to many others and exemplifies how well the sound of social conscience can be heard through films”, says Jorma Lehtola, the artistic director of Skábmagovat.


More information:

The artistic director of the festival Jorma Lehtola

+358 50 414 4349 /