Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson “wants to portray youth in a truthful way”
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- The Icelandic director is filming his first feature, Heartstone, about two boys growing up in a small Icelandic fishing village
After four shorts, including the prize-winning Whale Valley (2013), which was nominated for the European Film Awards, Icelandic director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson has started principal photography for his first feature, Heartstone [+see also:
interview: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
film profile], on location in Iceland.
Developed and written by Gudmundsson during his stay in the Cannes Cinéfondation programme, it tells the story of a strong friendship between two boys, Thor and Christian, as they grow up in a small Icelandic fishing village. Thor falls in love with Beth, the prettiest girl in town, while Christian discovers new feelings for his friend that he is not ready to acknowledge.
It is a personal story, based on the director's own experiences as a young boy growing up in such a village – “A place full of contrast, where the sun shines for the longest time in the country over the summer and the shortest time over the winter; a place where young kids come to know animals, and often discover how nature and people can be both amazingly beautiful and incredibly cruel,” Gudmundsson observed. “As a kid and a teenager, I used to wish that I could show the grown-ups around me how our world really was. Now, as a filmmaker, I want to do that – portray youth in a truthful way, as these years reflect our lives in a very clear, beautiful and sometimes harsh manner.”
Danish actor Søren Malling plays a Danish immigrant who lives in the village, while Thor, Christian and Beth are portrayed by Baldur Einarsson, Blær Hinriksson and Diljá Valsdóttir in the film photographed by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, edited by Anne Østerud and Janus Billeskov Jansen, and featuring a musical score and sound design by Kristian Eidnes Andersen.
While in development, Heartstone received an award from the Netherlands Production Platform. The production is being staged by Denmark's Jesper Morthorst and Lise Orheim Stender for SF Film Production, with Iceland's Anton Máni Svansson for Join Motion Pictures; support is being provided by the Danish Film Institute and the Icelandic Film Centre.