Two different short films by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, Ártún and Whale Valley, won awards this past weekend. In a unanimous decision by the jury, Ártún won the top prize at the Brest European Short Film Festival in Brest, France. Gudmundsson, a guest of the festival, accepted the award in person. Meanwhile, Whale Valley, Gudmundsson’s previous short film, received a Special Mention at the Festival de Cine de Alcalá de Henares (or ALCINE) in Madrid, Spain.
A second Icelandic short, Chum, by Jörundur Ragnarsson, was also in competition in Brest. Nearly 30,000 people attended this year’s festival, which is one of Europe’s most important annual events for short film.
Ártún was written and directed by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson and was produced by Anton Máni Svansson for Join Motion Pictures in association with Sagafilm and the Danish production company Fourhands Films. The cast – which includes Flóki Haraldsson, Viktor Leó Gíslason, Daníel Óskar Jóhannesson, Jónína Thórdís Karlsdóttir and Heida Ósk Ólafsdóttir – is primarily young people making their first forays into acting. Other recent awards for Ártún include the Gold Plaque for best live action short film at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Whale Valley, which was also produced by Anton Máni Svansson, has had a very succesful festival run since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2013. It is currently nominated for Best European Short Film at the European Film Awards, which will be held on December 13 in Riga, Latvia. Incidentally, Whale Valley received the Regional Council of Brittany Award at last year’s Brest European Short Film Festival.