Skábmagovat – Reflections of the endless night
Indigenous peoples’ Film Festival

ONLINE 27.1-6.2.2022


Skábmagovat – Reflections of the Endless Night –  is the world’s northernmost indigenous peoples’ film festival. It takes place in the village of Inari, Finland, 320 km north of the Arctic Circle.
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.


From the very beginning, Indigenous peoples’ Film Festival Skábmagovat has consisted three key elements.
Firstly, it is a central forum for films made by the Sámi and other indigenous peoples. Secondly, it consists of a special Festival Day for Children and Youth, as they represent the future of the Sámi language and cinema.
The third element is the unique Northern Lights Theatre, a theatre that is built every year from snow. The theatre has become the international trademark of the Festival. At best, films have been shown on its snow screen in minus 30 °C under the Arctic sky. Sometimes even under aurora borealis.
In addition to films, Skábmagovat provides an arena for other indigenous art projects. The film programme is complemented by interesting workshops, discussions, concerts, among others.
Skábmagovat does cooperation with other festivals around the year. The work include curating shows and screenings about Sámi people and organising own Mini Skábmat events.


Children and Youth Day of Skábmagovat takes place on Thursday of the festival weekend.
The Children’s Festival is meant for children in language nests, kindergartens and primary schools. while the Youth’s Festival is meant for pupils in secondary schools.
The programmes are comprised of Sámi short films and TV programmes from all around Sápmi, the Land of the Sámi. Some of the films are made by children and young people themselves. Pupils are also provided film and media workshops. In addition to films, the smallest children are offered play and story hours in the Sámi language.
Movie screenings and media workshops for children and youth are organised around the year, in the limits of possibilities.


Visual Sápmi project develops and enhances the continuity, vitality and awareness of Sámi culture. The project is length of 1,5 years, and is operated by the association Friends of Sámi culture.
Through the project, Sámi artists of various art forms are brought to the spotlight. They are granted the exposure they deserve. Operations ensure also the access of children, youth and elderly to Sámi culture around the Sámi land. Aim is to expand the offering of culture for communities in Sámi land and elsewhere. Along raising awareness of Sámi culture across the World.
During the project, several activities for different target groups will be organised. For example, for children and youth project organises workshops and movie screenings. For elderly people there will be conversation panels in addition to movie screenings. The movie screenings are in the core of operations. There will be screenings widely in the Sámi area of Utsjoki, Inari and Sodankylä, besides other locations around Finland. By this the awareness and knowledge of Sámi culture is shared for bigger audiences.
In addition to these, we want to bring up other forms of art by offering an arena for Sámi artists in Skábmagovat Film Festival. The festival showcases films made by indigenous people around the worl. Skábmagovat is organised by the same association, Friends of Sámi culture.
The festival is known for its Northern Lights theatre, which is totally built out of snow. The project aims to expand the usage of this unique arena.
If these activities resonated with you, please contact our project leader Minna Lipponen. Share your ideas for cooperation!
The project Visual Sápmi is sponsored by the Leader Northern Lapland. It is part of The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014-2020 (continued to 2021-2022), from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural areas.
Contact information:
Minna Lipponen
Project manager
Visuálalaš Sápmi – Visual Sápmi
+358 45 7833 5857


The story of a Skábmagovat Festival emerged in the late 1990s. Local cinema enthusiasts began to discuss how to light up the quiet mid-winter of the village of Inari.
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.

As its patrons, the Festival has had, for example, LL.D. Pentti Arajärvi and Ms. Jenni Haukio, both spouses of the President of Finland.


Is Your organisation interested in cooperation or sponsoring in Skábmagovat Film Festival 2022?  
Please contact our producer Diinu Bouras Ohvo via email 
and share your ideas what we could do together!