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Icelandic drama The Deposit now in post-production


- Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir's feature will soon join the Works in Progress section of the upcoming Göteborg Film Festival

Icelandic drama The Deposit now in post-production
The Deposit by Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir (© Julie Rowland)

Gísella (Elma Lísa Gunnarsdóttir) is a 40-year-old woman who rents out spare bedrooms in her lavish Reykjavik home to two immigrant women, Maria (Raffaella Brizuela Sigurðardóttir) and Abeba (Enid Mbabazi). Abeba moves in together with her daughter, Luna (Claire Kristinsdóttir). When Gísella loses her job as a journalist, she becomes desperate and begins to write a freelance article based on the lives of the women living in her home. An arrangement that begins well soon develops into Gísella’s worst nightmare as she loses control of her home and her sanity.

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This is the intriguing plot of Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir's fiction feature The Deposit, which has recently entered post-production and will soon be presented in the Works in Progress section of the Nordic Film Market at the 2018 Göteborg Film Festival. Kjartansdóttir has been working for a long time as a director, producer and scriptwriter, mostly being involved in the making of TV programmes and documentary films. Her most notable works, such as In Sickness and in HealthRiff and Palli Alone, have successfully been distributed in the Nordic countries and Canada.

Penned by the director herself, the script of this new 90-minute feature is based on Auður Jónsdóttir’s 2006 novel of the same name. The book had a strong emotional impact on the director, who disclosed to Cineuropa: “By making this film, I want to explore the fine line between kindness and cruelty when our self-interest is at stake. I want the audience to take Gísella right into their hearts, realising how important it is to be humble and understanding, even when we risk losing something extremely valuable to us. With a film filled with strong visuals and a daring narrative, I want to force the audience to face themselves – to look in the mirror and ask themselves how they would react in Gísella’s situation. Just like the book did to me.”

Produced by Eva Sigurðardóttir for Reykjavík-based firms Askja Films and Rebella Filmworks, with the support of the Icelandic Film Centre, the overall budget for the project is €1 million. The producer and the director firmly believe that Iceland was the right location for shooting The Deposit: “Iceland is the most isolated of the Western countries and is therefore the perfect place to nurture this story for maximum emotional impact. But the themes are ones that worldwide audiences can relate to – themes of prejudice, racism and the sensitivities that arise when immigrants and locals mix.”

The cast includes several newcomers to the acting scene – namely, Ugandan co-protagonist Enid Mbabazi, who moved to Iceland six years ago and now works in a nursery school; Raffaella Brizuela Sigurðardóttir, a Mexican-Icelandic artist and musician; and the young Claire Kristinsdóttir. The only professional actress is Elma Lísa Gunnarsdóttir, who is known nationally for her roles in the local feature films Stormland [+see also:
film profile
 by Marteinn ÞórssonVolcano [+see also:
film profile
 by Rúnar Rúnarsson and Jar City [+see also:
film profile
 by Baltasar Kormákur.

The Deposit is currently seeking distributors and will be ready for theatrical release in the spring.

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