In Sara Margrethe Oskal’s debut feature, set amongst the reindeer herds of northern Scandinavia, a Sámi artist returns to her hometown where she confronts her past demons and finds an unexpected new love.



The Tundra Within Me

Sara Margrethe Oskal

At the height of winter, Lena (Risten Anine Kvernmo Gaup) leaves her life in Oslo with her young son in tow and returns to her hometown in Sápmi, in northern Norway. A contemporary visual artist, Lena has returned to begin a residency involving women reindeer herders in her Sámi community.

While her mother is enthusiastic about Lena’s return and the opportunity to share Sámi knowledge with her grandson, Lena insists her stay is temporary. While Lena’s life in the south has offered greater comforts and opportunities as an artist, the shadow of a past decision still fills her with shame and regret. That act is still known in the community and Lena struggles to connect with the herders, many of whom are wary of her intentions. Adding to her woes, Lena is confronted with more conservative attitudes about what Sámi art should be as her provocative works fail to resonate locally.

Lena’s path takes an unexpected turn when she meets Mahtte (Nils Ailu Kemi) a male herder who dreams of becoming the manager of his family’s reindeer, but is at odds with his mother. When romance grows between Lena and Mahtte, her past threatens to derail their relationship.

Sara Margrethe Oskal’s tender first feature reveals the immense importance of reindeer herding for Sámi culture and society and explores the redemptive powers of love, forgiveness, and home.


Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

Content advisory: sexually suggestive scenes


Fri Sep 08

Scotiabank 8

Mon Sep 11

Scotiabank 9

Wed Sep 13

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Fri Sep 15

Scotiabank 8