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



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.


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 2023?  
Please contact our producer Anni-Sofia Niittyvuopio via email
and share your ideas what we could do together!