Icelandic Talents In An Uproar

Despite the underfunding of the Icelandic Film Centre that has less than €4.5 million a year to support Icelandic shorts, features, documentaries and TV dramas, Icelandic filmmakers are defying all odds, accumulating international awards across all genres and seducing local crowds.
The Grandad - (Afinn)

Last weekend debut director Bjarni Haukur Thórsson took the top of the charts with his comedy The Grandad (Afinn) based on the director’s own stage play. The film is produced by Ingvar Thórdarson, behind Iceland’s top grossing film of 2014 and Oscar entry Life in a Fishbowl by Baldvin Z. On the documentary side, another newcomer, Yrsa Roca Fannberg is the first Icelandic filmmaker to have won Nordisk Panorama’s Best Nordic Documentary Award with her intimate film Salóme. “Our documentaries are really taking off and despite our shortage of means, we’re trying to boost the documentary genre, especially in the development stage,” said Laufey Guðjónsdóttir, Head of the Icelandic Film Centre.”

Icelandic TV drama as well is upbeat. For the second time in a row the established production outfit Saga Film has one of its shows vying for a Prix Europa –the comedyAstridur, while Baltasar Kormákur’s new film and TV group RVK Studios is ready to start production on its 10 part TV drama Trapped, commissioned by RUV and eyeing the international market.

The crime series Trapped directed by Kormákur as well as The Cliff-Depth of Darknessdirected by Reynir Lyngdal for Pegasus Film are among a dozen new projects to be pitched to foreign media and industry people on October 3rd at Bio Paradis, an annual gathering put together by the Icelandic Film Centre parallel to the Reykjavik International Film Festival.

Here attached is the list of Icelandic feature films and documentaries to watch out for in the next year or two.

Feature Films
Brave Men’s Blood directed by Olaf de Fleur (The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela) produced by Poppoli Pictures. The stand-alone sequel to the director’s 2011 hit City State is co-produced by Celluloid Dreams that handles world sales. Domestic release is set for October 17, 2014.

Graves & Bones directed by newcomer Anton Sigurðsson, produced by Ogfilms.
The chiller reunites some of theatre group Vesturport’s main talents such as Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Gísli Örn Garðarsson and Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir. Domestic release is set for Halloween, October 31.

Fúsi directed by the established Dagur Kári, produced by RVK Studios.
The story of a late bloomer whose world is shaken because of a woman is co-produced by Nimbus Film in Denmark. Domestic release is set for February 2015. Bac Film International handles sales.

Mules directed by newcomer Börkur Sigthórsson for RVK Studios.
The thriller in early stages of development is inspired by two real-life criminal cases that shook Iceland.

Rams directed by Grímur Hákonarson (Summerland), produced by Grímar Jónsson (Netop Films).
Sigurdur Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson play two grumpy brothers and sheep farmers who don’t speak to each other. Delivery 2015.

Back is the directorial debut for local star comedian Gunnar Hansson and producer David Óskar Ólafsson. Mystery Island is producing. It’s the story of two childhood friends who drive around Iceland to raise money for charity, but nothing goes according to plan. Delivery 2015.

Yam: The Movie directed by Helgi Felixson (Vive la France) for Compass Films. The film is a tale of art and activism spreading from Iceland across Europe. Mixing Media in Denmark is co-producing. Delivery 2015.

Horizon directed by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. The film features the acclaimed painter Georg Gudni Hauksson who passed away recently. Research Grupper in Denmark is co-producing. Delivery 2015.

Keep Frozen directed by Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir, produced by Skarkali. The film follows a group of men who unload 20,000 boxes of frozen fish one frozen night in the old harbour of Reykjavik. Delivery 2015

We are Still Here directed by Ásdis Thoroddsen (Ingaló), produced by Seylan. Delivery 2015.


via the Nordisk Film and TV Fund

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.