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REPORT: Work in Progress @ Stockfish 2023
di Marta Bałaga
Camp Tripoli – Not a Love Story, Solitude e la serie Descendants sono tra i progetti in sviluppo presentati a Reykjavík
Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.
Reykjavík’s Stockfish Film Festival unveiled a selection of local works in progress during its industry days, starting with some already noticed titles, such as Helena Stefánsdóttir’s “arthouse drama with strong thriller elements” Natatorium, sold by LevelK. Produced by Sunna Guðnadóttir for Bjartsýn Films (the co-producers being Heather Millard for Silfurskjár and Julia Elomäki for Finland’s Tekele Productions), it focuses on a family trapped in a villa, but there is something much more sinister at play.
The TV series As Long as We Live – nominated for the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for Aníta Briem’s script – was also presented. Produced by Arnbjörg Hafliðadóttir for Glassriver and with Eccho Rights handling sales, it sees a once-promising musician finding herself isolated and depressed in her stale marriage, and struggling with motherhood, until a male babysitter encourages her to play a little game with her husband.
“I had been working in Copenhagen until I read the script, then I bought a one-way ticket home and have been staying here ever since,” said director Katrín Björgvinsdóttir. “I want to tell relatable, brutally honest, female-driven stories that make you laugh and cry, think and maybe feel a little embarrassed.”
The documentary The Ground Beneath Our Feet – also presented at CPH:FORUM (see the news) – focuses on the oldest operational nursing home in Iceland (“There is nowhere to go after Grund but the ground herself,” argued the team). With Poland on board (Staroń Film), it’s being produced by Hanna Björk Valsdóttir and directed by Yrsa Roca Fannberg, who was also behind The Last Autumn [+leggi anche:
“This is the generation that never got used to smartphones, so time feels different. You just… exist. In this fast-paced, capitalistic society, there is so much focus on materialistic things, but this human core is crucial to me. It’s important to value what they have, which is time and wisdom,” said Fannberg about her protagonists.
Another two docs, Skuld: For the Love of Cod and The Last Whaling Station (Iceland/USA/Iran), looked to the sea for answers, with Rut Sigurðardóttir opting for a lighter approach in the very personal Skuld, depicting her and her partner risking their relationship and financial stability by becoming independent fishermen, and The Last Whaling Station’s co-directors Micah Garen and Anahita Babaei condemning the hunting of fin whales.
“We are collaborating with the Icelandic people to maybe rethink this issue again. It’s not black and white – it never is – but we collectively got to this point, and now we have to collectively find a solution,” said Babaei, bringing a whale’s skull to the pitch, with Garen adding: “It’s a huge issue for Iceland. And for the world.”
Ninna Pálmadóttir’s Solitude [+leggi anche:
scheda film], produced by Hlín Jóhannesdóttir and written by Sparrows [+leggi anche:
intervista: Rúnar Rúnarsson
scheda film]’ Rúnar Rúnarsson, was also presented, portraying an older man forced to sell his country home, only to then meet a ten-year-old kid and develop a transformative friendship. The film is a co-production with Slovakia’s nutprodukcia, with Jour2fête also involved. In Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon’s Loss (Iceland/Norway/Belgium), shot on the Faroe Islands, another elderly protagonist tries to deal with his grief over his wife’s passing in a rather unusual way: every day, he pours her ashes into a cup of hot water. Friðrik Þór Friðriksson is producing.
In Camp Tripoli – Not a Love Story, produced by Thelma Torfadóttir, Siggi Kjartan takes on the US occupation of Iceland during World War II, showing women accused of having relationships with foreign soldiers. But there is a twist: “I decided to add some contemporary elements because it’s also about me trying to work through these issues and my own family history. Making it more mythical than historical will hopefully make it more universal, reminding us that the grim attitudes of that era and abuse towards women are still very much present,” he said.
Complicated family dynamics will also take the front seat in the TV series Descendants (Iceland/Belgium) by Tinna Hrafnsdóttir, an Icelandic take on Succession as siblings have to take over their family’s successful whale-watching company after their father’s death.
“It’s a story about a family at war, about how difficult it is to share. If we can’t share what matters, it can lead to destruction,” said Hrafnsdóttir, noting that “family ties are the strongest, yet the most complicated, forms of connection”. The show is being produced by Guðný Guðjónsdóttir, Kidda Rokk and the director herself for Projects, Polarama and Freyja Filmworks.
Finally, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir introduced the audience to the only short film in the selection, Flowers to the Bone, about a woman who sacrifices her contrabass into a waterfall. Heather Millard’s Compass Films is on board as producer. “The film is very much about letting go of any kind of burden, especially grief. It’s very personal and autobiographical, so did I sacrifice a contrabass into a waterfall? Yes, I did. And I filmed it.”
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