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VENICE 2016 Iceland/Denmark

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Iceland competing for the first time at the Venice Film Festival


- Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s debut feature, Heartstone, and Danish documentary The War Show will screen in the Venice Days

Iceland competing for the first time at the Venice Film Festival
Heartstone by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s feature debut, Heartstone [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
film profile
, will be Iceland’s first competition entry at the Venice International Film Festival, after it was selected as one of the 12 entries in the Venice Days section. The festival takes place between 31 August and 10 September.

Also scripted by Guðmundsson, Heartstone is set during a turbulent summer in a remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boy Thor tries to win the heart of a girl, while his mate Christian discovers new feelings towards his best friend. And then it is time to leave the playground and face the acrimony of adulthood.

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The group of Icelandic actors starring in the movie – Baldur EinarssonBlaer HinrikssonDiljá ValsdóttirKatla NjálsdóttirJónína Thórdís KarlsdóttirRán RagnarsdóttirDaníel Hans ErlendssonTheodór Pálsson and Sveinn Sigurbjörnsson – are supported by veterans Nína Dögg FilippusdóttirSveinn Ólafur GunnarssonNanna Kristín MagnúsdóttirGunnar Jónsson and Denmark’s Søren Malling

Guðmundsson has previously directed four shorts, including Whale Valley (2013), which won 45 international awards. His first feature was produced by Anton Máni Svansson and Guðmundsson for Iceland’s Join Motion Pictures, and Lise Orheim Stender and Jesper Morthorst for Denmark’s SF Studios Production. Berlin-based Films Boutique handles the international sales.

A Danish documentary, Andreas DalsgaardObaidah Zytoon and Marie Skovgaard’s The War Show [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Andreas Dalsgaard
film profile
, will open the Venice Days section. Scripted by Dalsgaard and Zytoon, it was produced by Miriam NørgaardAlaa Hassan and Ronnie Fridthjof for Denmark’s Fridthjof Film, with Dharmafilm and Finland’s Oktober.

The film tracks the destiny of Syria after the 2011 uprising. Zytoon, a Syrian radio DJ, and her friends live in a circle of artists and activists, and begin to film their lives as they take to the streets to rally against the regime. But as the country spirals into a bloody civil war, their friendships are tested by imprisonment, death and violence. Zytoon leaves Damascus and travels to her hometown of Zabadani, the centre of rebellion in the Homs province, and to northern Syria, where she witnesses the rise of extremism.

The War Show is Dalsgaard’s sixth full-length documentary; most recently, he made Life Is Sacred (2014), about the rule of drug cartels in Colombia.


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