Production – Iceland
Country Focus: A busy summer for Icelandic production
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Rúnar Rúnarsson, Bragi Thor Hinriksson, Gunnar Hansson, Davíd Óskar Ólafsson and Grímur Hákonarson are starting new films this summer
Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson, whose feature debut, Volcano [+see also:
film profile], was launched in the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2011, has started production on Sparrows, which follows Ari, his lead character in Volcano, at an earlier stage of his life. When he is 16, his mother has to move to Africa, and he is sent back to the small town in which he spent his childhood, where things aren’t what they used to be.
The shoot for Sparrows has been under way since 14 July in the West Fjords, with Atli Óskar Fjalarsson, Rakel Björk Björnsdóttir and Ingvar E Sigurdsson in the leads. The movie, which was also scripted by Rúnarsson, is one of four new Icelandic features that will go before the cameras this summer, with support from the Icelandic Film Centre. It is produced by Birgitte Hald, Mikkel Jersin (Nimbus Film Denmark) and Rúnar Rúnarsson for the newly instigated Nimbus Film Iceland, together with Lilja Ósk Snorradóttir (Pegasus Pictures) and Igor Nola (MP Film).
Meanwhile, Bragi Thor Hinriksson will next week (21 July) begin principal photography for his fourth film about Sveppi, The Biggest Rescue, at different locations. This time, Sveppi and his buddies Villi and Gói are in search of a doomsday machine capable of starting earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Hinriksson and Sverrir Thor Sverrisson have written the screenplay and will produce, with SAM film and Hreyfimyndasmidjan, and the cast includes Sverrisson, Gudjón Davíd Karlsson and Vilhelm Anton Jónsson. A local premiere is scheduled for October next year.
Back – the first feature by Gunnar Hansson and Davíd Óskar Ólafsson – will be staged by Árni Filippusson and Davíd Óskar Ólafsson for Mystery Ísland. Scripted by Hansson, who also stars alongside Víkingur Kristjánsson and Saga Gardarsdóttir, Back describes how two childhood friends decide to drive around Iceland backwards to raise money for charity. Soon after they set off, however, they realise that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea in the world. Shooting will start at various places around the country at the end of the month.
Finally, Grímur Hákonarson’s second feature, Rams, tells the story of two sheep farmers, Gummi and Kiddi, brothers in their sixties who live next to each other in a secluded valley. Regular prizewinners, their flocks are considered among the best in the country, but the brothers have not spoken for 40 years. Sigurdur Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson play the leads in the film, which was written by Hákonarson. Grímar Jónsson will produce for Netop Films.
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