Walt Disney Animation Studios to release Saami-language version of “Frozen 2”

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A still from the Walt Disney film “Frozen 2”. Casting for North Saami voice actors is set to begin shortly, say producers. (Disney)
The sequel to the Walt Disney mega-hit film Frozen will also be available in the Saami language,  Walt Disney Animation Studios has announced in a joint news release along with the Sámi Parliamentary Council (SPC) and The Saami Council.

The filmmakers behind Frozen 2 said parts of the new film were inspired by visits to Saami areas and story research done in consultation with a Saami working group.

“For all of our films at Disney Animation, research is crucial to building fantastical yet relatable and believable worlds,” said producer Peter Del Vecho in the news release on Friday.

“At the genesis of creating Frozen 2, our filmmaking team embarked on a research trip to Iceland, Norway and Finland. We were deeply moved by so many of the places we visited and the people we met, including a visit with the Sámi.”

The Saami are an Arctic Indigenous group. There is no census just for Saami but most sources estimate their population at around 100,000.

Their traditional homeland spans the Arctic regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia’s western Arctic.  There are numerous Saami languages and dialects spoken across the four countries. Frozen 2 will be produced in North Saami, the language – that most sources estimate has around 17,000 native speakers – that’s the most spoken.

“It is also very gratifying to be able to share the news now as the UN celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages this year,” said Saami leaders (pictured above left to right: Tuomas Aslak Juuso, Asa Larsson-Blind, Aili Keskitalo and Per-Olof Nutti) in a joint statement announcing the Saami-language version of the film. (Saami Council)

In a joint release, Aili Keskitalo from the Saami parliament in Norway; Tuomas Aslak Juuso from the Saami parliament in Finland; Per-Olof Nutti from the Saami Parliament in Sweden and Asa Larsson-Blind from the Saami Council, a non-governmental organization that represents Saami in all four counties, said the project was even more meaningful for happening during the current United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.

“We are deeply proud and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Disney Animation,” they said.

“We are beyond excited that the film, Frozen 2, will be accessible to Sámi children in their own native tongue.”

Casting for the Saami version of the film will begin soon according to producers.

The movie is scheduled to be released in December 2019 along with the other Nordic-language versions of the film.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuit-produced, Haida-language Indigenous film gets recognized by Toronto International Film Festival, CBC News

Finland: Sámi-themed Finnish short film makes Sundance lineup, Yle News

Norway: Arctic Indigenous Film Fund launches in Norway, Radio Canada International

Sweden: Film exploring racism against Sami wins big at Swedish film awards, Radio Sweden

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project.

Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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