ELLOS EATNU - LET THE RIVER FLOW is the opening film for TIFF 2023

Publisert 10.11.2022 — TIFF

ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW is the opening film for the 33rd edition of Tromsø International Film Festival! At the festival’s kick-off event at Verdensteatret Cinema in Tromsø, it was announced that the film will have its national premiere at TIFF 2023. The director Ole Giæver and main actor Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen were present. 

Based on real events

ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW is a film adaptation of what happened when the Norwegian government decided to build a dam in the Alta-Kautokeino river in 1978. The government ignored the significance and value of the river for the Sámi people. What started as a local nature conservation action, developed to become a historic proclamation against the Norwegian government‘s treatment of the Sámi people. ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW is a fiction film based on real events during the Alta action and the brave people who fought for Sámi rights at the end of the 1970s. 

-While working on this film I have had many strong encounters with people who participated in or were affected by the Alta case. For the Sámis the Alta case was not only about preserving the river, it also developed into a fight for life or death. All the stories I have been told, about pain and hope, about division and community, have melted together into one story. A story about a people’s fight against supremacy and for humans’ right to be themselves, says director Ole Giæver. 

Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen's actor debut 

In the film, we are following Ester, played by Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen, who hides her identity to avoid being subjected to racism. When Ester suddenly ends up in the middle of the demonstrations, she begins a personal journey away from the shame she has been carrying with her for a long time. This is Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen’s actor debut. 

-It is a great honor to tell the story of how the Alta case affected so many people’s lives. My character, Ester, is a complex woman, brave and strong, but she also has her insecurities and challenges. I think a lot of people will recognize themselves in her. I could not have dreamed of a better way to debut as an actor, since this story means so much to me. During the filming period we listened, learned, talked with, and came close to many who fought in the 70s and 80s. As an indigenous and environment activist myself, I have always looked up to the Alta activists and it is with huge respect that I have taken part in this project, says Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen. 

A deeply relevant and needed film

Festival director Lisa Hoen is looking forward to showing the TIFF audience an opening film with a strong local foundation. 

- ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW is based on an important and painful story from Sápmi and Northern Norway. The film is deeply relevant and needed. In addition to showing the background for the events that happened during the Alta case, it invites the audience into a strong and personal story about Sámi identity. It is with humbleness and pride that we present ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW as the opening film for TIFF 2023. We look forward to letting our audience become moved and engaged by Giæver’s film, says Hoen. 

ELLOS EATNU – LET THE RIVER FLOW is produced by Mer Film AS, with Maria Ekerhovd as the producer. Ole Giæver is the director and script writer for the project.

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