New partnership between International Sámi Film Institute and Sundance Institute

Anne Lajla Utsi, Managing Director, International Sámi Film Institute. (Photo: Jan Kraus)

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Arctic Indigenous film will be strengthened by International Sámi Film Institute and Sundance Institute partnership

News Release

International Sámi Film Institute

International Sámi Film Institute (ISFI) is pleased to announce a new partnership between Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program around the establishment of the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund. This new partnership has the ability to strengthen Arctic Indigenous film as Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing and digital media to create and thrive.

N. Bird Runningwater, Director, Indigenous Program, Sundance Institute and Anne Lajla Utsi, Managing Director, International Sámi Film Institute. (Photo: Norwegian Film Institute)

The new partnership was announced by ISFI Managing Director Anne Lajla Utsi and Sundance Institute Indigenous Program Director N. Bird Runningwater during the Sámi reception hosted by ISFI and Norwegian Film Institute at the 69th annual Berlinale Film Festival’s European Film Market in Germany.

Arctic Indigenous Film Fund (AIFF) is an international collaboration with partners in the Circumpolar Arctic—Canada, Sápmi, Greenland, Russia and United States. The aim of the fund is to promote high quality Arctic Indigenous peoples’ film projects and co-productions that enhance Indigenous cultures, languages and communities.

'Nations Without Borders: International Indigenous Co-Productions' panel. Left to right: Anne Lajla Utsi - International Sámi Film Institute, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers - Filmmaker, 'The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open', Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble - New Zealand Film Commission, Paula Devonshire - Producer 'The Miromiro' - New Zealand, Kerry Warkia - Producer 'The Miromiro' and 'Vai' - New Zealand, Jason Ryle - imagineNative. (Photo: Jan Kraus)

Following President and Founder Robert Redford's original vision, Sundance Institute has remained committed to supporting the voices of Indigenous artists. Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. Through its programs, the Institute seeks to discover, support and inspire independent film, media and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work.

“We welcome this partnership with Sundance Institute wholeheartedly and this represents a watershed for Arctic Indigenous Filmmakers. Sundance Institute is one of the most acclaimed film institutions in the world and from the very beginning they have acknowledged Indigenous filmmakers and embraced their talent,” said Anne Lajla Utsi, managing director of International Sámi Film Institute. “We are very enthusiastic about this collaboration and with this international partnership around the AIFF, Arctic indigenous film will rise on the global film scene in the future.”

About International Sámi Film Institute (ISFI)

The International Sámi Film Institute is dedicated to providing Sámi people with the skills and economic opportunities in developing, producing, and distributing Sámi films in the Sámi language. In addition, the ISFI is an institute for promoting cooperation and encouraging productions with other indigenous filmmakers and organisations internationally.

About Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program

Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program champions Indigenous independent storytelling artists through residency Labs, Fellowships, public programming, and a year-round continuum of creative, financial, and tactical support. The Program conducts outreach and education to identify a new generation of Indigenous voices, connecting them with opportunities to develop their storytelling projects, and bringing them and their work back to Indigenous lands. At its core, the Program seeks to inspire self-determination among Indigenous filmmakers and communities by centering Indigenous people in telling their own stories.


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