Rúnarsson’s Sparrows will fly to competition in San Sebastian
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- In his second feature, Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson sends the lead character from his first film back to an earlier stage, but “things aren’t as they used to be”
Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson - whose 2004 short Last Farm was nominated for an Oscar, and whose feature debut Volcano [+see also:
film profile] (2011) collected several international prizes - will be among the contenders for the Golden Shell at the 63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival, which runs between 18-26 September.
Runarsson is a graduate of the Danish National Film School, and his new film - which he also scripted – has been produced by Denmark’s Mikkel Jersin (with Birgitte Hald) for Nimbus Film and Nimbus Iceland, in a co-production partnership with Iceland’s Pegasus Pictures and Croatia’s MP Films.
Rúnarsson’s Volcano held its world premiere at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and swept the local Edda awards - Iceland’s national film prize – collecting five including Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay.
In Sparrows [+see also:
interview: Atli Óskar Fjalarsson
interview: Rúnar Rúnarsson
film profile] he returns to his lead character, Ari, who, in this coming-of-age story, is 16 years old and has been living with his mother in Reykjavik, but is sent back to his father in the remote Westfjords. “Things aren’t as they used to be” when he finds that his childhood friends have changed and the surroundings of his new life are hopeless and declining. It is under these miserable circumstances that he meets an old friend - a young woman in a tricky relationship - and his father falls victim to financial trouble.
Ari is played by Óskar Fjalarsson, alongside a cast that includes Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Björk Björnsdóttir and Rade Šerbedžija.
"I think Rúnarsson touches on something that feels true to audiences all over the world," explains Jersin."Even though the story takes place in the far-away Westfjords, it portrays themes that most people can relate to – father-son relationships, adolescence and love."
Paris-based Versatile Films is handling the film’s international sales.