Cannes has sunny beaches. Venice has the Lido and canals. But the Sami Film Festival in the Norwegian town of Kautokeino has its own unique charm: a drive-in where the audience arrives by snowmobile and a theater made entirely of snow, where viewers sit on reindeer pelts and munch dried reindeer meat.
As if this were not enticing enough, it also includes Sami art exhibitions, rock concerts and the reindeer racing world cup.
The fest, which runs April 5-12, is part of the Sami Easterfestival celebrating the culture of the once-nomadic Sami. Fest was established by Kautokeino in 1997 to offer the Sami people, who live in the mountains nearby, a chance to watch international films. Its other goal is to promote Sami and indigenous films to a worldwide audience.
This year’s fest includes local pic “Bazo” by Lars Goran Petterson, Nikki Caro‘s “Whale Rider” and a special focus on the work of Aussie helmer Rachel Perkins.
The org this year has issued 41 press accreditations; the event is expected to attract upward of 2,000 visitors.
Fest organizer Runar Green underlines the appeal: “Sun and snow at daytime, crystal clear nights with the northern lights. We are not a big festival, but our visitors really enjoy their stay.”