Screened as part of NZIFF 2017

Sami Blood 2016


Directed by Amanda Kernell

This clear-eyed coming-of-age tale follows a headstrong Sami teenager who attempts to abandon her indigenous heritage and pass as Swedish in a 1930s society rife with prejudice and discrimination.

Denmark / Norway / Sweden In South Sami and Swedish with English subtitles
110 minutes CinemaScope / DCP



Lars G. Lindström


Sophia Olsson
Petrus Sjövik


Anders Skov

Production designer

Olle Remaeus

Costume designers

Viktoria Mattila
Sara Svonni


Kristian Eidnes Andersen


Lene Cecilia Sparrok (Elle Marja)
Mia Erika Sparrok (Njenna)
Maj Dorus Rimpi (Christina/Elle Marja)
Julius Fleischanderl (Niklas)
Olle Sarri (Olle)
Hanna Alström (Lärarinnan)
Malin Crépin (Elise)
Andreas Kundler (Gustav)
Ylva Gustafsson (Laevie)


Toronto 2016; Sundance
Berlin, Māoriland 2017


This compelling debut from Swedish-Sami writer-director Amanda Kernell sheds light on a shameful period of history. In 1930s Sweden, 14-year-old Sami girl Elle Marja is forcibly removed from her family and sent to a state-run boarding school where she is expected to learn how to behave in ‘acceptable’ society. Fearful of being seen as different and internalising much of the vile, racist dogma she is taught, Elle Marja becomes determined to find a new life for herself by abandoning her indigenous heritage and attempting to pass as Swedish.

“A moving, classically rendered coming-of-age tale set against the scarring social prejudices of the 1930s, this handsome debut feature... robustly blends adolescent fears that resonate across borders and generations with a fascinatingly specific, rarely depicted cultural context: Sweden’s colonial oppression of the indigenous Sami folk. Following a single, strong-willed teenager as she is forced to choose between remaining with her people or pursuing the education and opportunities otherwise denied her, this stirring but pleasingly unsentimental tale... introduces a poised, intelligent young talent in star Lene Cecilia Sparrok.” — Guy Lodge, Variety

“Sami Blood features a winning combination of strong central performances... and an intimate, empathetic approach to a period of history which is not widely known outside of Northern Europe. The backstory to the film adds a layer of interest: it was inspired by the life of the director’s own grandmother.” — Wendy Ide, Screendaily