Sparrows flies to the US to fight for an Oscar
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Rúnar Rúnarsson’s second feature, which has already garnered 16 international festival awards, will be the Icelandic candidate for the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-language Film
Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Sparrows [+see also:
interview: Atli Óskar Fjalarsson
interview: Rúnar Rúnarsson
film profile], which was launched at last year’s San Sebastián International Film Festival, winning the Golden Shell for Best Film, has been selected by the Icelandic Film and TV Academy to be the country’s official candidate for the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-language Film.
Rúnarsson’s second feature, which he also wrote and produced, is the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Ari, who has been living with his mother in Reykjavik. Now he is sent back to his father in the far-flung Westfjords region – their relationship is difficult, and his childhood friends have changed, so his new surroundings seem hopeless and desperate.
After San Sebastián, Sparrows earned the Icelandic filmmakers 19 national and international awards, including five Eddas, Iceland’s national film prize, for Best Film and Best Director, among others. It also collected top kudos at showcases in Chicago, Gothenburg, Les Arcs, Pula, Sao Paulo, Thessaloniki, Transylvania and Warsaw.
Incidentally, Rúnarsson’s feature debut, Volcano [+see also:
film profile], which was premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2011, became a frequent festival traveller, pocketing 17 awards, plus five local Eddas, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. His Crossroads trilogy of shorts received around 100 prizes and an Oscar nomination.
Icelandic films have twice been nominated for an Oscar: Fridrik Thór Fridriksson’s Children of Nature for Best Foreign-language Film in 1992, and Rúnarsson’s The Last Farm for Best Live Action Short in 2006. The US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will publish the nominations on 24 January 2017, and the awards ceremony will take place on 26 February 2017.