Code of Cultural Sensitivity

A code of cultural sensitivity applies towards all the local people, communities and cultures of Northern Norway.

Photo: Ingun Mæhlum

Productions in Northern Norway should be aware of and sensitive to the locals and the communities in which they are filming. Any businesses or residences affected by filming must be notified in advance to avoid any inconvenience. Both public and private property should be treated with respect.

Every person possesses the right to any visual depiction of him or herself and consent must therefore be obtained before publishing.

Depicting local people and cultures

Locals, their communities, and their cultures should be portrayed accurately and genuinely. This is especially true in the case of the Sámi people. The Sámi are Europe´s only indigenous people - living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia - and they have constitutional protections in Norway. Thus, there are special considerations for the Sámi.

We recommend reading The Pathfinder - guidelines for responsible filmmaking with the Sámi people and Culture which is a joint initiative from International Sámi Film Institute (IFSI), the Sámi Filmmakers Association and the Pathfinder Filmmakers Reference Group. The Pathfinder guidelines can be downloaded from ISFI´s website here.

Some key words:
Any depictions of Sami culture or people should be based on principles of honesty, truthfulness and decency. This mandates respect for their indigenous culture and heritage, including recognition of Sámi cultural and intellectual property rights, maintenance of cultural integrity, respect for cultural beliefs as well as individuals and their communities – in order to avoid stereotypes.

Photo: Torgrim Halvari
Photo: Torgrim Halvari

Filming Sámi festivals and public events is generally fine. However, when filming private or traditional Sámi ceremonies, consent must be obtained first. If a video or a photograph depicts a Sámi, the person in the photograph must be a Sámi.

The Sámi should also be given the opportunity to benefit from the use of their images, stories and knowledge portrayed on screen. Sámi filmmakers should be hired in key positions in any film concerning the Sámi. Hiring Sámi cast and crew also helps ensure that the principles detailed above are followed. For more information, please contact International Sámi Film Institute.

International Sami Film Institute also provides a Sámi Film and Culture Advisory group for consultance on how to implement the Pathfinder Guidelines in film and TV productions with a Sámi content or in a Sámi context.