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– We have experienced racism

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The owners of the film’s reindeer calf experienced having one of their animals killed during filming, as also happens with the film’s young Elsa. Photo: Carl-Johan Utsi / Netflix / Handout / NTB

Of NTB | 12.04.2024 14:44:36

Economy and business: – We actually experienced it in the middle of the recording, says Elle Márjá Eira to TT.

In “Stølen”, the Netflix film based on Swedish Ann-Helén Laestadius’ prize-winning novel of the same name, the orphaned girl Elsa witnesses how one of the local non-Sámi men cuts down the reindeer calf Nástegulla – and threatens her into silence.

Elsa grows up and becomes a reindeer herder, as she has always wanted, but the racism and mistrust from her surroundings and the disappearing reindeer are an eternal shadow over existence. So is mental illness and the threat from the growing mining industry.

– The story is based on reality. The owners of the film’s small, white reindeer calf Nástegallu have as a reindeer herd in the Jokkmokk area, discovered during the filming that someone had killed one of their animals and they found a slaughter place. It was tough, says Elle Márjá Eira.

Both she and Elin Oskal feel a great kinship with the story’s Elsa.

– I think we could both be Elsa, says Eira, while Elin Oskal adds that many Sami women have experienced much of what the film’s Elsa experiences.

– It was very personal and I think many Sami women will recognize themselves, says Oskal.

“Stålet” is both their feature film debut. It’s no small project either – the film has Netflix resources behind it, and parts of the recording took place with thousands of reindeer in the middle of the coldest winter.

– I froze my nose when I was driving a scooter without a windscreen in minus 40. But that’s how our lives are, there is no glitz and glamour, says Elin Oskal.

“Stolen” has its global Netflix premiere on April 12.

(© NTB)

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