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Skúli Fr. Malmquist • Producer

by Annika Pham

03/12/2007 - Skúli Fr. Malmquist • Producer Believing in long-lasting relationships

Skúli Fr. Malmquist • Producer

Skúli Fr. Malmquist, co-founder of one of Iceland's leading production companies, Zik Zak Filmworks, is nurturing his talent roster of half a dozen established and up-and-coming filmmakers such as Ragnar Bragason, Dagur Kári, Sólveig Anspach, Inga Lisa Middleton, Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson, Gunnar Björn Guðmundsson, and the Oscar-nominated Rúnar Rúnarsson. He spoke to Cineuropa from New York about his current productions.

Cineuropa: Tell us about Zik Zak and your editorial line?
Skúli Fr. Malmquist: Þórir S. Sigurjónsson and I started the company in 1995. We work with up and coming talents in whom we believe and want to grow with. We did Ragnar Bragason's first movie Fiasco. He went on making Children [+see also:
film review
film profile
and Parents with Vesturport theatre group, and now he is coming back to us. Dagur Kari is another example. We did his first film, and co-produced with Denmark his second film Dark Horse [+see also:
film profile
. We're now prepping his third film A Good Heart [+see also:
film profile
in New York. In the past couple of years we have also started to place a greater emphasis on documentaries and short films as well.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

What are your current films in production?
Rúnar Rúnarsson who did the 2005 Oscar nominated short film The Last Farm with us is now studying at the Danish Film School, and he recently finished shooting a short film for us, Two Birds, now in post-production.

In terms of feature films in post-production, we have Back Soon by Solveig Anspach, a light-hearted road movie. We're trying to finish the film before Christmas in the hope to get into festivals. We've known Solveig a long time, and she came to us with the project. She had already contacted Patrick Sobelman from Ex-Nihilo in France who is involved in all her films, and we all got together. We are delegate producers on the €1.5m film and Patrick is co-producing. But it's been a real team effort. We have several things in development with Ex Nihilo and hope it will be a long-lasting relationship.

What's the status with Kári first English-language film A Good Heart?
We are finishing the casting which has been a very long process. The young man who plays Lucas is a known American actor. The rest of the cast is European. The €2.6m film is European in terms of financing with support from the Icelandic Film Centre, the Danish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Eurimages, Canal +, ARTE. Wild Bunch is handling sales. It's a good mixture of soft money, pre-sales and MGs from bigger companies. It will start shooting at the end of December, or early January. Some scenes will be shot in New York and all the rest in studios in Iceland.

The film has already been pre-sold to Scandinavia (Scanbox), France (Wild Side, plus Arte for French and German free TV rights, and Canal + for pay TV), and Japan (NHK for all TV rights).

What other projects do you have in development?
We're doing a €1.5m film with Arni Ólafur Ásgeirsson (Thicker than Water [+see also:
film profile
) called Undercurrent, together with Vesturport. It is based on a play that we've adapted for the cinema. It will start shooting in March/April 2008. It's the story of a crew on a fishing boat. During a journey, one of the crew members commits suicide and in order to fill his place, a young inexperienced girl is hired. Just by being a woman, she unbalances the equilibrium on board. Some men think it is bad luck. Others find it exciting. We're currently looking for Scandinavian co-producers.

With Bragason, we have a film which he wrote four years ago. It's a kind of a fairy tale about an Icelandic boy with super sensitive hearing, a mix between Spiderman and Oliver Twist. The film will be co-produced with Denmark’s Alphaville Production. Then we are developing several children and youth films because this genre is really lacking in Iceland.


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