Riddu Riđđu's young artist of the year brings arthouse film to Sápmi

The young artist of the year 2023 is filmmaker Mihkkal Hætta, 22, from Kautokeino. He cites David Lynch and Ingmar Bergman as sources of inspiration, and now wants to add a completely new genre to the ever-growing selection of Sámi films.

Never before has there been greater interest in Sámi stories on film and television, in Norway and internationally. As a director, Hætta has big ambitions; he wants to transfer the Sámi storytelling tradition to the screen, and conquer the hearts of his audience through Sami arthouse film. Hætta has experience as a producer, cameraman and soundman, from projects such as the award-winning short film Unborn Biru (Elin Marakatt 2023), the Sámi Parliament's film project Sama Vázzin ja O, Oarjjevuodna (2022), and Storyhunters (Muitalusbivdit) for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Festival director Sajje Solbakk is pleased with the announcement
"Mihkkal Hætta is a Sámi filmmaker with an exciting artistic expression. I am greatly impressed and fascinated by his artistic visions. Sámi film is in the air at the moment and has garnered recognition around the world. It's an incredibly exciting time to be a Sámi filmmaker and I'm looking forward to seeing how Mihkkal leaves his mark on the Sámi film field!"

Excerpt from the jury's reasoning
"The artist sees the value in established Sámi traditions, but is also not afraid to challenge them. He is innovative, creative and structured. Mihkkal is a filmmaker who has the potential to go far in a Sámi film world that is getting more and more international attention and recognition." Jury members are Stian Pedersen, Sajje Solbakk, Anne Henriette Nilut, Nicolai Lopez, and Dine Fenger Lynge.

Achieving big dreams 
"It felt like a dream when I got the message that I had been chosen as Young Artist of the Year. I look forward to showing what I have to add to the Sámi film world."

The Young Artist of the Year is an arrangement that each year nominates a young Sámi artist to present their artistry through Riddu Riđđu's festival program and other events that Riddu Riđđu co-organises throughout the year. In addition to receiving a grant of NOK 25,000, the award also includes a stay at Lásságámmi, the artist residence of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää. Mihkkal Hætta will start his year as a young artist during this year's Riddu Riđđu festival, and will then take over from Márjá Karlsen.

Young artist of the year/Riddu Sessions is supported by Talent Norway, Samfunnsløftet and the Sámi Parliament in Norway.