Fourteen-year-old Elle Marja is a reindeer-herding Sámi girl. Confronted by the racism of the 1930s and demeaning racial examinations at her boarding school, she starts to dream of another life. But to realise her dream, she must become someone else, which means severing all ties with her family and culture.
Motivation of the adjudication committee
Sámi Blood is a brave and highly topical film about roots, class and culture that seeks to inspire discussion about a repressed and forgotten part of Swedish history.
Amanda Kernell demonstrates great technical skill, a refined sense of character and a keen eye for detail. Along with cinematographer Sophia Olsson, she captures both magnificent scenery and the main characters’ innermost feelings –the tiny person in the huge world.
Screenwriter/director – Amanda Kernell
Amanda Kernell (born 1986) graduated in directing from the National Film School of Denmark in 2013. Since 2006, she has directed several acclaimed shorts, including Northern Great Mountain (2015), the pilot for Sámi Blood. It premiered at Sundance and won several awards including the Audience Award at the Göteborg Film Festival 2015 and Best Short at Uppsala.
Sámi Blood is her feature debut. The film had its world premiere at Venice Days 2016, where it won the Europa Cinemas Label’s award for Best European Film and the Fedeora Award for Best Debut Feature. It then visited more than 20 world festivals and picked up several other accolades, including Special Jury Prize and Best Actress (Lene Cecilia Sparrok) in Tokyo, and 2017 Dragon Award for Best Nordic Feature and Sven Nykvist’s Best Cinematography Award (Sophia Olsson) in Göteborg.
At the same time as making Sámi Blood, Kernell also directed the mid-length film I Will Always Love You. Her next feature-length project is the contemporary drama Charter.She was listed as one of the top ten most prominent female directors by Europe! Voices of Women in Film.
Producer – Lars G. Lindström
Lars G. Lindström (born 1955) has long and wide-ranging experience of film, TV and theatre, and has been an in-house producer at Nordisk Film Production Sweden since 2013. For Nordisk Film, he produced Daniel Espinosa’s debut film Babylon Disease (2004) and Åke Sandgren’s To Love Someone (2007). Amanda Kernell’s Sámi Blood was selected at more than 20 international film festivals and sold to more than 150 countries.
Lindström’s upcoming films include the biopic Becoming Astrid, directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen, and Kernell’s next feature, Charter.
Original title: Sameblod
Director and Scriptwriter: Amanda Kernell
Principal cast: Lene Cecilie Sparrok, Mia Sparrok, Maj-Doris Rimpi
Producer: Lars G. Lindström
Production company: Nordisk Film Production
Running time: 110 minutes
Swedish distribution: Nordisk Film Distribution
International distribution: LevelK