"Look at me..." Award 2023

Documentary "Rap and Reindeer" wins award of the Finnish Church Media Foundation
Rap and Reindeer (Petteri Saario)

Director Petteri Saario has been awarded the Church Media Foundation's "Look at me..." Award for the documentary "Rap and Reindeer" (OT: Revontulten räppäri/Guovssahasaid ráppár). The film participated in the domestic competition of the Oulu International Children's and Youth Film Festival 2023. 

"Rap and Reindeer" tells the story of 18-year-old Saami individual Mihkku Laiti, who aspires to become a rap artist. He grapples with the expectations tied to generational traditions while balancing his own future aspirations. The documentary follows Mihkku's life over a year and a half, presenting a coming-of-age story towards a career in music and budding stardom. The film will have its international premiere in November at the world's largest children and youth film festival in Chicago.

The judge for the "Look at me..." Award was Mrs Outi Rousu, a member of the foundation's board and a film producer. According to Rousu, the film skillfully weaves together three narratives, closely following the protagonist, a young man, as he reflects on life choices and his own identity.

"The film addresses, through its protagonist, the culture and position of minorities, in this case, the Saami people. At the same time, it emphasizes the importance of nature in our lives and the need to live in harmony with it. The film prompts viewers to contemplate life values and raises questions about the state of the environment and climate change worldwide," says Rousu.

Diversification of Finnish Film 

Outi Rousu notes that there were ten different films in the domestic competition at the festival, ranging from drama to adventure films and youth coming-of-age stories. 

"It's good that Finnish cinema is diversifying and also bringing forth the stories of our country's minorities. This year, there were nominees, for example, telling the personal story of a child with an immigrant background and a film made by immigrants about their lives in the suburbs," says Rousu.

The "Look at me..." Award is valued at 1.500 € and is annually awarded at the Oulu International Children's and Youth Film Festival to one or more Finnish film directors. The award aims to support domestic children and youth cinema and encourage filmmakers to reflect on Christian responsibility and values.

The Church Media Foundation was established in 2005 with the purpose, based on the values of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, to support and promote the produduction, distribution, and presentation of programs dealing with religion and ethical questions in national media.