New European film festival, Stockfish, readies its first show in Iceland
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Instigated by Iceland’s film professionals and Reykjavik’s Bíó Paradís arthouse cinema, the first programme will unspool from 19 February-1 March
With a population of 118,488, Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is certainly bigger than Cannes, but is it big enough for two international film festivals? “Absolutely,” said Oscar-nominated Icelandic director-producer Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, chairman of the Stockfish European Film Festival, which will launch its first programme between 19 February and 1 March.
“The two festivals differ in focus and content. Created by the local film-industry guilds in collaboration with Reykjavik’s arthouse cinema Bíó Paradís, Stockfish in a way revives the original Reykjavik Film Festival from 1978,” Fridriksson explained. “Every year, Stockfish will have a different focus on content.
“It is a small and intimate event, aimed at starting a dialogue between the local and the international film communities – to create networking opportunities for local filmmakers so that they can connect with international film professionals, and strengthen their knowledge through screenings, seminars and master classes.”
The first festival focus will pay tribute to new European cinema, screening 30 award-winning European features starting with Swedish director Jens Östberg’s Blowfly Park [+see also:
film profile], starring Sverrir Gudnason (of Icelandic origin), who won a Guldbagge – Sweden’s national film prize – for his performance. Both will be in Reykjavik.
French director Rachid Bouchareb and UK actress Brenda Blethyn are also among the festival guests, with their latest film together, Two Men in Town [+see also:
film profile], in which Blethyn co-stars with Forest Whitaker, Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel. Armenian director Aik Karapetian will also present his new movie, The Man in the Orange Jacket [+see also:
interview: Aik Karapetian
interview: Roberts Vinovskis
Every year, the festival will programme a retrospective of an Icelandic filmmaker, commencing with cinematographer Sigurður Sverrir Pálsson, showing his Land and Sons (Dir: Ágúst Guðmundsson/1980), Tears of Stone (Hilmar Oddsson/1995) and Cold Light (Oddsson/2004). Pálsson has shot a total of 15 Icelandic features – more than any other Icelandic photographer.
Five Icelandic shorts will take part in the festival’s first competition for the Shortfish Award. These are: Herdísarvík, directed by Sigurður Kjartan; Gone, directed by Vera Sölvadóttir and Helena Jónsdóttir; Happy Endings, directed by Hannes Þór Arason; Foxes, directed by Mikel Gurrea and produced by Eva Sigurðardóttir; and Substitute, directed by Madeleine Sims-Fewer and produced by Eva Sigurðardóttir.
Supported by the City of Reykjavik and Promote Iceland, the Stockfish European Film Festival was created by the Icelandic Associations of Film Makers, Film Producers, Actors, Women in Film and Television, and Playwrights and Screenwriters. These associations also operate Bíó Paradís, the arthouse cinema and festival centre in the heart of downtown Reykjavik.