Three Icelandic films and a Finnish/Icelandic co-production have been selected for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which will take place from September 4-14. The three Icelandic films are the narrative feature Life in a Fishbowl, directed by Baldvin Z, and the short films Seven Boats, by Hlynur Pálmason, and Playing with Balls, by Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir. The Finnish/Icelandic co-production is The Grump, directed by Dome Karukoski.Life in a Fishbowl will screen in the Discovery program and both Seven Boats and Playing with Balls will be part of the Short Cuts International program. The Grump will screen in the Contemporary World Cinema program.
Life in a Fishbowl tells three different tales of three different people, all of whom end up having a lasting effect on one another. Twenty years after a horrible personal tragedy, a middle-aged writer still drinks himself into oblivion every day. A young single mom moonlights as a prostitute to make ends meet. A former soccer star is recruited into the snake pit of international banking and loses touch with his family.
Life in a Fishbowl was directed by Baldvin Z (Jitters) and written by Baldvin Z and Birgir Örn Steinarsson. It was produced by Ingvar Thordarson and Julius Kemp and co-produced by Per Janérus, Markus Selin, Jukka Helle and Karla Stojakova. It stars Thorsteinn Bachmann, Hera Hilmar and Thor Kristjansson. Other key crew members include Jóhann Máni Jóhannsson (director of photography), Sigurbjörg Jónsdóttir (editor) and Ólafur Arnalds (musical score), who recently won the BAFTA for his score for the BBC TV series Broadchurch.
In the short film Seven Boats we find ourselves out in the open sea. A man is in the ocean fighting for his life. He is surrounded by seven boats.
Seven Boats was written and directed by Hlynur Pálmason. It is an Icelandic/Danish co-production and was shot in Skardsfjördur in eastern Iceland. The film was produced by Anton Máni Svansson, Julie Waltersdorph Hansen and Per Damgård Hansen, and executive produced by Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson (Volcano and the upcoming Sparrows). It stars Einar Örn Thorlacius.
Playing with Balls tells the story of a lesbian in midlife crisis who egotistically acts on her desire to escape her day-to-day routine, only to find disappointment instead of the absolute bliss she had hoped for. Now she has to live with the fact that she betrayed her loved one and her beliefs.
Playing with Balls was written, directed and produced by Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir. The cast includes Gudrún Gísladóttir, Svandís Dóra Einarsdóttir, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Margrét Helga Jóhannsdóttir and Jóhann Sigurdarson. The film was shot by Árni Filippusson, edited by Valdís Óskarsdóttir and Sigurdur Eythórsson, and scored by Urdur Hákonardóttir.
In The Grump, a stubborn old farmer from the Finnish heartland is forced to spend a few days in the city with his daughter-in-law after injuring himself on the farm. When her business dealings with some Russians run into complications, he steps in to save the day. The trouble is, his old-fashioned methods clash with her modern sensibility, and she’s furious. The old grump finds he has a lot of work to do to put her career, and their family, back on track.
The Grump was directed by Dome Karukoski, one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch for 2013. Karukoski and Tuomas Kyrö wrote the film, which is based on a series of novels by Kyrö. The Icelandic co-producers are Ingvar Thordarson and Julius Kemp, and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson composed the score.