The Sámi are indigenous to the region formerly known as Lapland (Sápmi) which covers northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Murmansk Oblast. Like all aboriginal groups, they’ve been subjected to systematic racism, forced indoctrination and other horrific practices over the last few centuries. Today, there are approaching one million Sámi living in Norway and while their rights are much better protected, there are still many issues.
Between the 1950s and 2017 something truly awful happened in the small community of Tysfjord, north of the Artic circle. It has a population of 2000 residents, half Sami and half Norwegian, separated by a deep fjord. A group of journalists exposed a dark secret: 151 cases of sexual abuse, most involving children. This was usually perpetrated by family members and when anyone tried to talk, they were ignored. Beneath the Surface looks to put the record straight.
Beneath the Surface follows the community’s struggle to get justice through the Norwegian legal system. Alexander Irvine-Cox’s investigative documentary looks for answers to the questions around why and how this was allowed to happen. It goes without saying that it contains some difficult material, both in the testimonies and uncovered footage. Beneath the Surface is an important film which shines the light on historic abuse and negligence.
Beneath the Service screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest.