A novel by Swedish writer Ann-Helen Laestadius about a woman’s struggle to defend her indigenous heritage in Sapmi is getting the full Netflix treatment.
The novel, Stolen, takes place in the Arctic and follows the story of a young Sami woman named Elsa as she navigates a world of violence and intolerance towards her culture.
Laestadius could not immediately be reached for comment through her literary agency, but in a press release published by Netflix, she said it was an important time to put Sami culture in the spotlight.
“I’m over the moon,” Laestadius said. “For me as an author, it is of course a dream to see my book adapted into a film and reach a whole new audience around the world. And I’m incredibly happy that Netflix, with its reach, chose to highlight a Sami story in a big way.”
‘I recognize myself in this story’
The script for the Netflix movie will be written by Peter Birro and directed by Elle Marja Eira.
“It’s about time the world knew about this story and what is happening at Sapmi today,” said Eira.
“I am a reindeer owner myself and I recognize myself in this story. I also know that my indigenous brothers, sisters and ancestors are with me. I am proud and grateful that Netflix and Ann-Helen Laestadius have given me this opportunity and I can’t wait to bring it to a new audience.”
Laestadius will serve as executive director.
Stolen was originally published in Sweden in 2021 and won that country’s award Book of the year also in 2021.
Since then, the book has been sold to more than 20 countries, including Canada.
Global launch scheduled for 2024
Laestadius, who describes herself as Sami and Tornedalian (a Finnish minority in Sweden), is originally from the arctic city of Kiruna in Sweden.
She began as an author of children’s and youth books.
Stolen It is her first novel for adults.
filming for Stolen will take place at Sapmi from spring 2023.
The film version of Stolen it is scheduled for a worldwide release in 2024.
Write to Eilis Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from across the north:
Canada: Arctic Arts Summit 2022 kicks off June 27 in Yukon, Canada, eye in the arctic
Finland: 70th Annual Reindeer Cup Race held on frozen Lake Inari, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: German project to host everything published in Siberian and Arctic languages to seek new funding, Eye on the Arctic
Sweden: Sweden and Norway team up to preserve ancient rock carvings, radio sweden
USA: American cartoonist says his new book on Canadian indigenous history helped decolonize part of himself, CBC News