Short films by Marja Viitahuhta and Ánnámáret screened at The 2023 Sámi Film Festival held online and in New York

Siedi (2022) and Dolos niegut – Ancient dreams (2022, in featured image) by Marja Viitahuhta and Ánnámáret have been selected to the 5th Annual Sámi Film Festival. The festival takes place on 9.2.-12.2.2023 and is held both online and in-person. All of the selected films will be screened at the Scandinavia House in New York and online on Saturday February 11 from 1 to 5 PM. The virtual screening platform is from February 9 to 12. Behind the festival, is a partnership between the Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York.

The memories and documented imagery of reindeer herding and nomadic ways of life mix with the contemporary herding of reindeers in Dolos Niegut – Ancient dreams, an experimental music video to a track by Ánnámáret, Ilkka Heinonen and Turkka Inkilä from the album Nieguid duovdagat. How we perceive our everyday life affects our views as well as our imagination, our hopes and dreams. The lives connected to other beings, in this case the reindeer and how the Sámi people have lived in relation to it as well as our dependency with our environment, is present in this work. In this yoik, Ánnámáret also reaches to imagine how our predecessors perceived this world and what may remain of them in the currents of the time that we live in and in the ways we function in it. The video is part of a continuum of video works made in collaboration with Viitahuhta, Ánnámáret, Heinonen and Inkilä.

What happens when old beliefs and modern times collide and we create new relationships with old cultural signifiers? In Sieidi, Ánnámáret builds a relationship with the sieidi, an offering place and its being by yoiking. Yoiking makes the siedi true and strengthens its power. The video shows Samuli Paulaharju’s archive photo from 1930 of the sieidi located in Dierpmesvárri, Enontekiö. The photo is shaped by various digital collage techniques and effects. The piece is a cameraless film created from a single stock photo by digitally editing it into a time lapse animation. The stone seems to multiply in the image, covering itself and becoming visible again. The shape of the stone in the picture is remembered even when it is not visible in the picture. Ánnámáret’s experimental yoik is accompanied by Turkka Inkilä and Ilkka Heinonen.

Marja Viitahuhta (formerly Mikkonen) is a Helsinki-based media artist and filmmaker. Her works range from films, performances and installations to photography and collage. She holds a BA degree in performance art from the Turku Polytechnic Arts Academy and an MFA degree from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. She has been awarded internationally at Cannes (Cinéfondation), Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Mediawave and L’Alternativa film festivals. Viitahuhta’s recurring themes focus on perception and experience of female protagonists. Her works deconstruct individual identities, memories, or the idealised imagery of nations and landscapes. Her work often speaks in an intimate and personal tone and deals with existence and mortality. The text and image are set in a dialogue in Viitahuhta’s experimental language. Viitahuhta often bases her work on documentary filmmaking, archive material and found images as well as interviews.

The 2023 Sámi Film Festival, February 9-12 2023, online & Scandinavia House, New York, U.S.

More information: Sámi Film Festival.