Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson on “Paris of the North”
Filled with deadpan humour and a brilliant soundtrack, Sigurðsson once again tells a story of two people forced together in isolated surroundings.
Here Hugi, a teacher in a small village in the east of Iceland, receives a visit from his father, Veigar. While Hugi tries to discover what to do with this life – while abstaining from alcohol – Veigar prefers to enjoy himself putting him at odds with Hugi, his lifestyle and the fragile relationships he has already made.
Where did the inspiration for Paris of the North come from?
I approached my friend and screenwriter Huldar Breiðfjörð with a vague idea about a father son story, which was very loosely based on a script I had written earlier.
He picked up on it as we were both excited to shoot a film in the town of Flateyri in the West Fjords of Iceland. The town was a big inspiration for both of us and things began to evolve.
How did the film get funded? Was it easy to get the money together from the likes of the Icelandic Film Centre?
The film is an Icelandic, French, Danish co-production and received funding from The Icelandic Film Centre and Eurimages. I think it´s never easy to finance a film, but if you´re persistent and believe in your project, things will get done.
Tell us more about the casting of the film.
Björn Thors, who plays the lead [role of Hugi], is a very talented and growing actor I´ve known for a long time and I was very happy to finally have the opportunity to work with him.
Helgi Björnsson, who plays the father is also an actor I´ve wanted to work with for a long time. He is a big rock star in Iceland and a very natural and talented film actor as well, who brings a lot of weight to his role.
The two have very different qualities as actors but together they were fantastic and we had a really good time. I should also mention Nanna Kristín, who is a really creative actress and great to work with.