Busiest Year Ever for Icelandic Film Company


The Icelandic producers Julius Kemp and  Ingvar Thórdarson are having one of their busiest years ever with four projects in production in their company Kisi. Leading their line-up is Life in a Fishbowl by Baldvin Z, to be released in early May. This is despite the governments 40% cuts to Iceland’s film budget this year. The company, behind the film Frost, are having a massive year and say “Making films in Iceland has been tough ever since I started producing – almost two decades ago – but we always get by and life goes on”.

The first feature project to be delivered by Kemp and Thórdarson for their production outfit Kisi/Icelandic Film Company is Life in a Fishbowl by Baldvin Z (for Zophoníasson). His first film Jitters was sold to 25 territories and travelled to 65 festivals, grabbing a few accolades along the way. Life in a Fishbowl is an intertwined tale of three characters that have a lasting effect on each other. In the title roles are Hera Hilmar (2 Birds), Torsteinn Bachmann (Either Way) and Thor Kristjansson (Black’s Game). The celebrated musician/composer Ólafur Arnald (BAFTA nominated for the music of the TV series Broadchurch) has written the score. “The movie will surprise people and put Baldvin Z’s name on the map”, says producer Thórdarson. Long-time production partners Solar Films in Finland and Axman Production in the Czech Republic are co-producing the €2.7m film alongside Sweden’s Harmonica Films. Kisi is negotiating with international sales agents and Sena will release the film in Iceland on May 16.

The next Kisi/Icelandic Film Company project to reach Icelandic screens later this year is the comedy Albatross by first timer Snævar Sölvason. It’s the story of city boy Tommi who follows his girlfriend to the Wild West-fjords. The low budget film is currently in post-production, just like Kisi’s co-production The Grump by top Finnish director Dome Karukoski, produced by Solar Films.

Meanwhile Thórdarson has teamed up with world renowned writer/producer/director Bjarni Haukur Thórsson on his feature debut Granddad adapted from his own stage play. Granddad centres on Gudjón (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) who faces retirement and is forced to take a hard look at his life and marriage. It’s a comedy about crossroads and the meaning of it all. Shooting in Iceland started on March 7 and delivery is set to September 2014. Czech partner Axman Production is co-producing the €1m project produced by Thórsson Production.


The image chosen for Frost is stunning. What a beautiful film.

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.