The Indigeneity of Frozen 2
It’s been six years since Frozen came to the big screen. Frozen, which was released in 2013 and earned a reported 1.28 billion dollars, became the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Considering Frozen 2 earned an approximate 358 million dollars in its first weekend, the second incarnation likely won’t be too far behind from its predecessor.
But then there is the Indigenous element. In a landmark move, Disney execs started off the process to make Frozen 2 by setting up an undisclosed contract with Sámi Indigenous people after the first film used a Sámi-influenced song without consulting anyone.
The result was a contract deal resulting in a sincere dedication to Sámi Indigenous culture to include traditional songs, traditional regalia and more than a hat tip to the Sámi culture’s respect for the herding of reindeer.
The Frozen 2 second official trailer has 29 million views
Sámi culture, specifically the Norway regions, were reportedly represented accurately and respectfully in Frozen 2, much to the delight of Sámi people in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Northern Russia.
As Reuters reported in an interview with Aili Keskitalo, president of the consultative Sámi Parliament in Norway, “I am planning to see the movie again with my whole family!”
Another individual Anne Lajla Utsi, a member of a Disney Sámi advisory and managing director of the International Sámi Film Institute said of Frozen 2, “Some of the beautiful costumes in the film took inspiration from our gákti. They also took inspiration from the guksi, our traditional wooden cup.”
The regard for Frozen 2 had been generating interest from Sámi people long before the movie hit the theaters. When Utsi posted a movie poster of Frozen 2 with the Sámi title Jikŋon 2, the post went viral.
Bird Running Water who attended the wrap party for Disney's Frozen 2 wrote the following with a series of images: Thank you to Anne Lajla Utsi from the International Sámi Film Institute and the Sami delegation for inviting me to attend the wrap party for Disney’s #Frozen2 What an impressive film and story! Won’t give any spoilers but it’s good, go see it when it opens Nov 22!
The ways Disney did it right
According to Utsi in an interview with CBC, Disney hired her and a team of Sámi people to make up an advisory group to the film.
Utsi says Disney did a number of things the right way to include signing a formal agreement with Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the Sámi Council; formed an advisory group of artists, historians, and elders; invited Sámi filmmakers and animators to the U.S. for internships with Disney; and released a version of the film in a widely spoken Sámi language.
“They wanted to make it right,” Utsi told the CBC.
Stay tuned for the Frozen 2 #NativeNerd review this Thursday.
Follow the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, associate editor for Indian Country Today and a proud movie reviewer.
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