Dignity comes and goes, but friends never return, once lost.

 

Olga is assumed to be a mentally disabled, parentless girl, following rough reindeer herdsmen along the migration routes. In reality she is a very bright teenager and an excellent story-teller. Branded by the Russian authorities as retarded, since her parents were drug addicts, she was forced into a post-Soviet orphanage, where she was ethnically “purified”. She lost her ability to speak her native Sami language and forgot her background.

Upon turning 18, Olga was released from the orphanage and sent home. She discovered she was not Russian, but Sami, and met several half-sisters and a half-brother. Nevertheless, her Russian upbringing in the orphanage made her a foreigner in the Sami village, and she is fighting hard to find her place in her real home, which is not easy. Times are hard in rural Russia and everyone is busy watching their own back.

Director Paul-Anders Simma has over 30 years’ experience in film and television and has won numerous awards for excellence in film making. He made his first film in Olga’s hometown in 1979, when the Communists were in power. He is himself a Sami, which gives him an insider’s perspective on the life of the Russian Sami people.