Norsk filminstitutt

Ole Giæver's cinema-current drama Ellos Eatnu - Let The River Flow received both the audience award and the critics' award at the film festival in Gothenburg, the Nordic region's largest film festival.

ELLOS EATNU - LA ELVA LEVE - foto Mer Film.jpg
Ellos Eatnu - Let The River Flow - Photo: Mer Film

Ellos Eatnu – Let The River Flow was one of two Norwegian films that participated in the Nordic competition Nordic Dragon Award and ended up being the film that the festival audience appreciated the most, as they also did at the film festival in Tromsø in mid-January.

Sami identity

-The fact that Ellos Eatnu – Let The River Flow makes such a strong impression outside of both Sapmi and Norway, to such a degree that the audience in Gothenburg also voted for it for the audience award, shows that Ole Giæver and all those involved have succeeded in conveying their message about Sami identity and awakening with his strong film. It sets the agenda and gives a new understanding of a Sami perspective on Norwegian politics and energy development, it is fantastic that both the audience and the critics value this so highly, says Kjersti Mo, director of the Norwegian Film Institute.

Award from international film critics' organization

The international film critics organization FIPRESCI also named Ellos Eatnu – Let The River Flow as the winner of their award.

The Jury’s motivation:

The story takes us up to the most northern part of Europe where some 40 years ago Norwegian national history was written. Those events raised the consciousness of Norwegian society and led to the modern Sámi awakening. The strong and well-balanced script of the film tells a story about a universal issue that is impressively manifested in the performance of a young Sámi woman played by non-professional Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen in her first screen appearance. The movie masterfully conveys the sorrowful mood caused by the threat of a disappearing culture, and a loss of identity, language, and family ties. The winner of the Fipresci Award 2023 is Ellos Eatnu – Let the River Flow, by Ole Giæver.

The 2023 Fipresci Jury consisted of: Beat Glur, critic, Switzerland, Britt Sørensen, critic, Norway, Teréz Vincze, critic, Hungary.

About Ellos Eatnu – Let The River Flow

Ester (Elle Marie Hætta Isaksen) moves to Alta in the autumn of 1979 and starts her first job as a substitute teacher. To fit in at the school, she keeps her Sami background hidden. Ester's cousin is a Sami activist and participates in the demonstrations against the planned hydroelectric power plant in Altaelva. When Ester joins him at the protest camp, her awakening and journey out of shame begins. She throws herself into a conflict-filled battle for the preservation of the river and for the right to be herself.

The film is written and directed by Ole Giæver, cinematography is by Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen. In addition to the previously mentioned Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen, we also find Gard Emil, Sofia Jannok, Beaska Niiilas and Maria Kvernmo in the roles. The film is produced by Maria Ekerhovd for Mer Film AS and distributed by Mer Filmdistribusjon AS. I

The film has received development, production and marketing grants from the Norwegian Film Institute of NOK 18,5 million and can receive up to NOK 12.8 million in ex-post grants.

From Tromsø via Gothenburg to Berlin

The Norwegian premiere was on Friday 3 February, after the world premiere as the opening film of the Tromsø film festival on 16 January. The Norwegian distributor is Mer Filmdistribusjon, while the German company Beta Cinema is the international sales agent. After Gothenburg, the film will be shown on the market in Berlin for international buyers and festival programmers.

Previous winners in Gøteborg

Previous Norwegian recipients of the Audience Award in Gothenburg are The Innocents (2022), What Will People Say (2018) and Welcome to Norway (2016), while Blind Spot (2019) has received the FIPRESCI award.