The winner is Brúsi Ólason with his film Viktoría. He received 1 million krona in equipment rental with Kukl, the biggest equipment rental in Iceland that specalizes in servicing film-and TV productions
In the jury this year were Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (director, Undir Trénu / Under the tree), Hlín Jóhannesdóttir (producer, Svanurinn / The Swan) Ísold Uggadóttir (director, Andið eðlilega / And breathe normally).
This is what they had to say about the film: “The winning film portrays a simple and lovely story, the protagonist is a warm and genuine humane person whose personal way to deal with obstacles and challenges touches the audience. The cinematography is refined and gives the film a poetic tone. Other technical aspects are well executed and this all translates into a well-balanced film.”
The festival congratulates Brúsi with the win and wishes him, and other contestants, the best of luck with future film projects.
All the shortfilms can be seen one more time at the festival today at 18. Tickets can be bought here.
The end of Stockfish Film Festival draws closer as Sunday March 11th is the last day of the festival. There’s no reason to despair though because during the weekend there’s plenty to choose from!
FRIDAY, March 9th
Today’s schedule starts with the Q&A screening of November at 18 where the director Rainer Sarnet will be present. An Ordinary Man (with Ben Kingsley and the Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar) and Before we Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s newest film) will also be screened, among other films.
SATURDAY, March 10th
Tomorrow screenings will start at 16 and many great films screened. Among them Redoubtable will be screened at 19:15. The film is about the world renowned director Jean-Luc Godard and his relationship with filmmaking and love.
The festival’s closing ceremony starts at 19:00 where the winner of Shortfish will be announced among other things. Everyone is welcome and light refreshments offered.
The Q&A screening of Spoor starts at 20. The lead actress, Agnieszka Mandat, is attending.
SUNDAY, March 11th
The last day of the festival starts with the Documentary Masterclass with Arne Bro at 15.
The masterclass is open to all and admission is free of charge.
Film screenings start at 18 with the screenings of Shortfish and Let the Sunshine in. At 20 there will be another Q&A screening of Spoor and an extra screening of the Oscar winning film A Fantastic Woman. The film ends with the screenings of Asphyxia and an extra screening of Loveless.
The full screening schedule can be found here.
The festival draws attention to a few correction from the brochure.
Festival talk with Steve Gravestock Monday March 5th is said to take place at 15
Correction: the festival talk takes place at 17.
In the screening schedule there are three corrections:
Monday March 5th
At 22:15 in room 1 is the film BEFORE WE VANISH screened (not The Workshop at 22 as it says in the screening schedule)
Tuesday March 6th
At 22:00 in room 1 is the film THE WORKSHOP screened (not Let the Sunshine at 22:15 as it says in the screening schedule)
Wednesday March 7th
At 22:15 in room 1 is the film LET THE SUNSHINE IN screened (not Novemberas it says in the screening schedule)
We apologise for these mistakes.
Festival passes and discount cards can be bought here. Ticket sales for individual film screenings will begin soon at tix.is.
The full program brochure can be viewed here.
The Polish award winning film SPOOR will be screened at Stockfish Film Festival this year. The film’s lead actress, Agnieszka Mandat, will be a guest at the festival and attend a Q&A screening of the film.
Mandat has been praised and won awards for her acting in the film. She is born in Krakow Poland in 1953 and has been a professional actress in theater, TV and films since 1975. Mandat has played roles in over 40 TV series and films and received many awards in her career. It is a great honor for Stockfish to have her as a guest at the festival this year.
Picture Miss Marple as a vegetarian hippy and animal rights activist living in Fargo, and you have the blueprint for Duszejko, the gray-haired protag of Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor. – Hollywood Reporter
Janina Duszejko, an elderly woman, lives alone in the Klodzko Valley where a series of mysterious crimes are committed. Duszejko is convinced that she knows who or what is the murderer, but nobody believes her.
The three-time Oscar nominee Agineszka’s murder mystery SPOOR is the winner of many film awards, including the Silver Bear at Berlinale. It was also Poland’s entry in the race for the best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards.
The presence of international press is always important for every film festival, not only for the festival but also filmmakers who participate or screen their work at the festival. Many international journalists are attending the festival this year. We are happy to introduce for of them at this time;
Senior Programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival and film reviewer for the American trade magazine Variety.
Alissa Simon will be a guest at the festival for the second time, but she attended the festival last year as well. Simon has been a programmer with PSIFF since 2000 and was named Senior Programmer in 2008. She is also a regular contributor to the film industry trade magazine Variety.
Among other things she has served on international film festival juries in Göteborg, Cannes, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Sarajevo, Sochi, Cluj, Torino, Montreal and Vancouver. It could be said that Simon attends film festivals for a living, but she attends about 12 to 15 festivals each year. We are truly honored that Stockfish is one of them for the second time!
In an interview with Coachella Valley Weekly, about the most important thing about film festivals, Simon said – quote: “film festivals bring films that may never come into distribution. It’s a great opportunity to see films as they were meant to be seen: on a big screen in the best possible viewing situation. It’s a chance to travel the world without leaving town, to experience new cultures and ideas.”
We at Stockfish Film Festival couldn’t have said it better!
Founder and editor in Chief of The Film Prospector and a freelance journalist.
Karajica is an Italian journalist that lives and works in Serbia. She knows the world of film festival by first hand as she has worked for a few of them, including as a film programmer at World of Film International Festival Glasgow. Karajica writes about films and filmmaking for many media outlets in addition to her own, including Cinema Scandinavia, Variety, Tess Magazine, Go Film, Accréds, Sidneybuzz, AltCine, The Kinecko, Screen International, Indiewire and many more.
Editor of Little White Lies
David Jenkins is the editor of Little White Lies, a bi-monthly movie magazine powered by illustration which has just reached its 73rd issue. He worked as a film critic for Time Out London prior joining the LWL staff and has written on film for Sight & Sound, The Guardian, FIPRESCI, Montages, MUBI and various other outlets. He is also co-editor of the Faber & Faber book, What I Love About Movies.
Journalist, Film Critic and Press Officer
Richter writes about foreign culture for the oldest and most influential newspaper in Eastern Europe, Politika as well as the Croatian magazine Monitor. Richter lives and works in Vienna but has a special interest in Scandinavian films since she has a Masters Degree in Scandinavian studies from the University of Vienna.
Two of the films screened at Stockfish Film Festival this year were just nominated for an Oscar. The Chilean film A Fantastic Woman and the Russian film Loveless are both nominated as ‘The best foreign film’,
A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica) tells of Marina, a twentysomething waitress and aspiring singer, is in a loving relationship with older partner Orlando despite the difference in their ages. When Orlando unexpectedly dies, Marina, who is transgender, faces discrimination and hostility from both Orlando’s family and government officials while also contending with her devastating grief.
A Fantastic Woman is a touching and a harrowing film from the award-winning director Sebastián Lelio and has the lead actress Daniela Vega been praised for her acting, but she is a transgender herself.
Loveless (Nelyubov) has previously been announced at the festival. The film is about a married couple that is going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. They are impatient to start their new lives again even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears.
The director’s (Andrey Zvyaginstev) last film Levitian was very well received and won awards. Loveless is no less praised and won the film the jury price in Cannes and was nominated for an Golden Globe as the best foreign film.
All the films screened at the festival are hand-selected and have in common being quality films, as many of them have won or been nominated for awards at international film festivals. All the films being announced now were all screened at Cannes Film Festival last year and one of them A GENTLE CREATURE competed for the festival’s main award Palme d’Or.
Here you can see a summary of the films being announced now;
BEAUTY AND THE DOGS (Aala Kaf Ifrit)
A harrowing and necessary film in only nine shots.
During a student party, Mariam, a young Tunisian woman, meets the mysterious Youssef and leaves with him. A long night will begin, during which she’ll have to fight for her rights and her dignity as she has to go to the police to report she’s been raped by several policemen. But how can Justice be made when it lies on the side of the tormentors?
For her jump from documentary to fiction, Tunisian distaff director Kaouther Ben Hania has chosen both a controversial true story and a stylistic challenge with a clear cinematic edge, chronicling that one long and awful night in nine chapters, each consisting of a single sequence shot.
The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
BEFORE WE VANISH (Sanpo suru shinryakusha)
Alien parasites take over the citizens of a small Japanese town in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s genre-bending conceptual sci-fi thriller.
The internationally acclaimed director Kiyoshi Kurosawa reinvents the alien movie as a unique and profoundly human tale of love and mystery. Three aliens travel to Earth on a mission in preparation for a mass invasion. Having taken possession of human bodies, the visitors rob their hosts of the very essence of their being – all sense of good, evil, property, family, belonging – leaving psychological and spiritual devastation in their wake.
The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
THE WORKSHOP (L’Atelier)
The French director Laurent Cantet makes an enchanting return with his conscious thriller.
Antoine attends a summer writing workshop in which a few young people have been selected to write a crime thriller with the help of Olivia, a famous novelist. The creative process will recall the town’s industrial past, a form of nostalgia to which Antoine feels indifferent. More concerned with the fears of the modern world, the young man soon clashes with the group and Olivia, who seems at the same time alarmed and captivated by Antoine’s violence.
The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
A GENTLE CREATURE (Krotkaya)
Harsh as raw horseradish vodka, but also glorious in its way.
A woman lives in a small village in Russia. One day she receives the parcel she sent to her husband, serving a sentence in prison. Confused and angered, she sets out to find why her package was returned to sender. A captivating, hallucinatory plunge into Russia’s atrophied civil society, in which a woman’s search for answers is rewarded with humiliation and abuse.
The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Previously announced films are;
Loveless, Communion, The golden dawn girls og What will people say?, the director of the last mentioned film, Iram Haq, will be a guest at the festival and attend a Q&A screening of her film.
Stockfish Film Festival announces the first films and guest for this year’s edition!
Among films screened at the festival is Loveless. It is described as an eerie thriller of hypnotic, mysterious intensity from the director Andrey Zvyaginstev, who also directed the film Leviathan. Loveless won the Jury price in Cannes, is the current Russia’s Oscar entry and was nominated for Golden Globe.
The director Iram Haq will be a guest at Stockfish Film Festival for the second time, now with her newest film What will people say? which was premiered at Toronto Film Festival last September. The film is nominated for the Dragon Award at the Gothenburg Film Festival and therefore competing for the largest film cash prize in the world. Her first feature film, I am yours, was also premiered at Toronto Film Festival, in the year 2013. The film was also Norway’s contribution to the Oscars and has won many awards world-wide.
Here you can see a summary of the films being announced now;
Another masterpiece from russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev in this apocalyptic study of a failed marriage and the subsequent disappearance of a child.
Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears…
What will people say? (Hva vil folk si)
A Norwegian teen clashes with the traditional values of her Pakistani émigré parents in this compelling coming-of-ager.
Sixteen year-old Nisha lives a double life. At home with her family she is the perfect Pakistani daughter, but when out with her friends, she is a normal Norwegian teenager. When her father catches her in bed with her boyfriend, Nisha’s two worlds brutally collide.
Communion (Komunia) – Documentary
Childish adults burden children with adult responsibilities in Anna Zamecka’s compelling Polish documentary.
‘Communion’ reveals the beauty of the rejected, the strength of the weak and the need for change when change seems impossible. This crash course in growing up teaches us that no failure is final. Especially when love is in question. Ola a fourteen-year-old girl has too much on her plate taking care of her father Marek and her autistic brother Nikode. She is the cook, cleaner, nag and appointment-keeper for not only her father but also her brother. The viewer gets the unique chance to follow her hard life taking care of her family while her mother with her newborn seems to live somewhere else but might come back to them.
The golden dawn girls – Documentary
“Whatever has happened to Greece?” wonders filmmaker Håvard Bustnes out loud in his latest documentary.
In recent years, its image as a country of sunny beaches and friendly people has been overshadowed by political ideologies that are terrifyingly close to Nazism. With many prominent members of the far-right Golden Dawn party now behind bars, a daughter, a wife and a mother continue to propagate its message – and all three of them are seasoned enough to avoid any slips of the tongue during interviews. But while they regularly stop the interview to make sure it went as they want, Bustnes just leaves the camera running.
Stockfish Film Festival, which takes place on March 1st to 11th, is looking for volunteers and interns.
We are looking for interns who can start working with us as soon as possible. Interns assist with various projects related to the preparation of the festival. Working with the festival team provides good insight into the production process of an international film festival.
For applications and further information send to firstname.lastname@example.org – Subject: Intern
Volunteers assist in a number of projects during the festival. The contribution of volunteers is very important whereas they create the always lively atmosphere at the Stockfish festival.
For applications and further information send to email@example.com – Subject: Volunteer
Shortfish – Stockfish Film Festival’s short film competition is now open for 2018 submissions. A jury will select 6 films to be screened and compete for the Shortfish price of 1 million ISK worth of equipment rental from our sponsors KUKL.
The criteria for submission is the following:
The deadline is January 28th 2018.
Please send the submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s our pleasure to announce the open call for MIDPOINT Intensive Iceland 2018, which will take place March 10-11 during the Stockfish Film Festival in Reykjavík. Thanks to a new collaboration with the Icelandic Film Centre, Icelandic film professionals will be invited to develop their feature film projects with international tutoring.
This is the third time that MIDPOINT and the Stockfish Film Festival invite Icelandic film professionals and emerging filmmakers to this intensive workshop for feature films in early stages of development. The workshop is intended for writers, directors and producers who are working on their 1st or 2nd features.
During an intensive 2-day workshop, 4 selected teams will develop their scripts and projects, both relying on group feedback and on one-to-one consulting with the tutor.
The tutor for the workshop will once again be Pavel Jech. In addition to being MIDPOINT’s artistic director, Pavel is a professor at Chapman University in California, the former dean of FAMU, and an active screenwriter, instructor of screenwriting and expert mentor for the Sundance Lab and Berlinale Talents.
We welcome the support of the Icelandic Film Centre – as well as that of the Stockfish Film Festival and Bio Paradis, Reykjavík’s art-house cinema – and their commitment to securing script and project development at international level for their local film industry.
The project fee for participation is 100,00 EUR.
The deadline for applications is February 9, 2018 – APPLY NOW
In accordance with Iceland’s Film Agreement, which establishes the industry’s current policies and priorities, projects with women in key creative positions and those aimed at the children and youth markets are especially encouraged to apply.
If you have any further questions about this workshop or how to apply, please write to email@example.com
The Stockfish European Film Festival in Reykjavík last screening ended on Sunday evening. The festival was a great success and the guests were delighted with a wide range of quality films and events. This was the first Stockfish European Film Festival, under its new name, that is. It is really a revival of the original Reykjavik Film Festival, which was ran between 1978 and 2001 and continuance of the European Film Festival in Reykjavik, which ran the past three years. Stockfish pays tribute to some of the best of new European cinema as well as an array of award-winning films from around the globe. Over 30 films were screened during Stockfish, which was held at Bio Pardis, Iceland’s only art-house cinema.
Stockfish aim is to build a bridge between the domestic and international film communities. Number of foreign visitors attended the festival. Among them were distinct foreign guests, including Rachid Bouchared, director, Brenda Blethyn, actress and Christine Vachon, producer. Stockfish furthermore embraced local filmmakers through targeted seminars, workshops and a master class by Pavel Jech, dean of the respected Czech film school FAMU. The Icelandic cinematographer Sigurður Sverrir Pálsson was one of Stockfish’s guests of honour and a retrospective of some of his masterly shot films were screened at the festival. The opening film of the festival was the Swedish film Flugparken (e. Blowfly Park), with attendance of Guldbaggen winning actor Sverrir Gudnason and director Jens Östberg. The film will also be a part of the Stockfish on Wheels, where selective few films from the festival will tour Iceland in the aftermath of the festival.
The short film festival awards went to Foxes produced by Eva Sigurðardóttir, Box Films and directed by Mikel Gurren. The film synopsis says: “On a rainy London evening, a young estate agent needs to juggle a big sale with taking care of his ten year old son. As Malcolm and Aron struggle to communicate, an urban fox follows them around.” The jury described Foxes as “… a solid and sincere work that is particularly relevant in today’s fast-paced world. The writer displays a strong sense of character, while the directing is equally compelling and effortless. In this simple story of fatherhood, a reality is depicted, that many will find deeply relatable. “
The Stockfish European Film Festival in Reykjavík is a collaboration between Iceland’s professional associations in filmmaking; The Film Directors Guild of Iceland, the Icelandic Film Makers Association, the Association of Icelandic Film Producers, Union of Icelandic Actors, Women in Film and Television and the Icelandic Dramatists Union. The Board of Stockfish constitutes of representatives of all the associations with Icelandic film veteran Fridrik Thor Fridriksson serving as Chairman.
The results of the Stockfish short film competition “Shortfish”, were announced at the festival’s marvelous final ceremony last night. It was a hard choice for the jury and much debated but eventually they came to a final decision and chose the film FOXES as the winner. FOXES was directed by Mikel Gurrea and produced by Eva Sigurðardóttur and her company Askja Films. We congratulate Eva, Mikel and Askja Films with their victory!
Here’s what the jury had to say about the film:
A solid and sincere work, that is particularly relevant in today’s fast-paced world. The writer displays a strong sense of character, while the directing is equally compelling and effortless. In this simple story of fatherhood, a reality is depicted, that many will find deeply relatable.
The program for Sunday has now been set in stone. On the program there were a few TBA slots available on the Sunday night for films which have been especially popular and much discussed and now we have chosen films for these slots. The program for Sunday night for these slots now looks like this:
Blind at 20:00 in room nr. 1
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night at 20:00 in room nr. 3
What We Do in the Shadows at 22:00 in room nr. 1
Two Men in Town at 22:30 in room nr. 2
In the Basement at 22:00 in room nr. 3
We would also like to point out that the film Tangerines will not screen at 22:30 in room nr. 2 tonight, Saturday the 28th of February but instead we will screen In the Basement. The reason for all the screenings of Tangerines having been cancelled is that the copy of the film got los in transit on its way to Iceland and wasn’t found again soon enough to get to the country in time for the screenings. We of course apologize for that and will make up for that by having extra screenings of it soon after the festival. Everyone who owns a festival pass or coupon card can show it in the ticket booth to get a ticket for these screening but we will make an announcement about them as it draws closer.
Two of the films at the Stockfish European Film Festival are screened in cooperation with the distribution company Eye on Films which specialises in spotlighting promising young filmmakers and only distributes the first or second films of directors.
Stockfish proudly presents the films The Man in the Orange Jacket from Latvia and Field of Dogs from Poland which are both distributed by Eye on Films. Aside from screening the film representatives of both of them will be present, Aik Karapetian director of The Man in the Orange Jacket and Michal Tatarek, the lead actor of Field of Dogs. Karapetian will be present at two Q&A screening for his film, on Friday the 27th of February at 20:30 and Saturday the 28th of February at 20:00 and Tatarek will be present at one Q&A screening for Field of Dogs on Wednesday the 25th of February at 20:30.
Today, Monday the 23rd of February, admission is free on all films at Stockfish. Come and enjoy great movies with Stockfish for free!
This free Monday is offered by the EU Info Center, one of the main sponsors of Stockfish European Film Festival.
The above headline is borrowed from the headline of a review in Fréttablaðið, Iceland‘s most widely read newspaper, about Life in a Fishbowl last year. At Stockfish we‘ll have a critics panel next Tuesday at noon and we thought it might be a good idea to warm up by asking a few film experts what they felt was the best Icelandic movie. There is of course no right answer to that question – and the answers we got were very different. But it‘s the dialogue that the question creates that really matters – a living dialogue about films is one of the main aims of all film criticism.
This is also a question that should be asked again and again. Opinions change and new films are constantly being added to the archives. In that spirit we ask the guests of Stockfish to let us know what they think is the best film Iceland has produced, with a short explanation – you can either comment on our Facebook page or send us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org and we‘ll publish the results after the weekend.
But back to the present poll. Two film got more than one vote – 3 and 2 respectiviely – but in total our twelve experts chose nine different films, the oldest more than half a century old and the youngest from the start of this century. Below are the results:
Children of Nature
“Icelandic filmmaking wasn‘t the same after it was screened and it‘s legacy can still be seen. The best films of this decade, Volcano and Either Way, both reference it knowingly – although in totally different ways.”
Björn Ægir Norðfjörð, film scholar
“Children of Nature is not a flawless film but it‘s magic far outstrips it‘s flaws and hasn‘t been bettered before nor since. The film somehow captures the essence of being Icelandic, an essence that seemst to be vanishing but is captured in this film.”
Árni Þórarinsson, novelist and former film critic
“Children of Nature has not been bettered yet. It‘s Iceland‘s Tokyo Story. Although Friðrik Þór doesn‘t reach the level Ozu does he also deals with the inevitable sorrow of life in a sensitive and powerful way. The Icelandic film that comes closest to equal the best of European cinema.”
Jóhann Helgi Heiðdal, philosopher and movie critic at Starafugl
Remote Control (perhaps better known under its Icelandic title, Sódóma Reykjavík)
“I think Remote Control is the best Icelandic movie simply because it’s the most entertaining Icelandic movie I’ve seen and because I think it succeeds pretty much perfectly at what it’s aiming to do. It’s funny and clever and original and memorable, filled with colorful and vibrant characters. Director Óskar Jónasson has fun with form and blends Hollywood clichés nicely into Icelandic surroundings. The film is also well shot and edited and full of great music. But overall it’s chock full of quotable lines and thus sits with you long afterwards. Remote Control is a film you can watch again and again, isn’t that what good movies should make you do?”
Atli Sigurjónsson, film critic at Klapptré
“It‘s almost impossible to choose the best Icelandic film. Children of Nature, Life in a Fishbowl, Angels of the Universe and Metalhead all spring to mind. But Remote Control somehow always sticks out from the crowd. You feel something special just happened on set, it‘s like everything came together. The film just works perfectly. A spectacular script, unforgettable characters and great music. Such a film will never be made again. 10 out of 10.”
Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson, journalist at RÚV, the national broadcaster
The Girl Gogo (also known in English under the more literal translations of 79 of Station and Taxi 79)
“The film‘s atmosphere is what stays with me, darkness and beauty at the same time and of course the wonderful actors and the great music. The film is also a really good document about the post-war era in Iceland.”
Dögg Mósesdóttir director and chairman of WIFT (Women in Film and Televison)
“There are many good films to choose from and in fact it‘s impossible to name the best film. Many come to mind, for example Children of Nature, Noi the Albino, Remote Control, Angels of the Universe … but the one I first think of, and is probably a terribly unoriginal choice, is On Top. It increases happiness, the humour is delightful, the music is great and the lyrics are exceptional. „Fram þær reiddu hálfmána og kex og astraltertur sex“ [lyrics that are quite impossible to translate properly, dealing with intergalactic astral cakes and crescents] and so on. And you can‘t forget the Grýlurnar, two fine bands did battle in the film, Stuðmenn and Grýlurnar / Gærurnar [the film name of Grýlurnar] and the blend is perfect. The phrases come rolling and so it goes, on and on.”
Helgi Snær Sigurðsson, cultural journalist at daily Morgunblaðið
“I am certain we’ve yet to see the best Icelandic film, our film history grows stronger by the year. But to name one film I decided not to include any from the last decade or so, you never know how those films will age. The one I went for is Gísli Snær Erlingsson‘s Benjamin Dove, adapted from Friðrik Erlingsson’s novel. A bittersweet and beautiful film that has all the things the great films have, a strong script, fine acting, great cinematography and great music. All this creates a very solid atmosphere, films are such a jigsaw puzzle to put together and hear all the pieces fall together. But principally it’s the magic, how it touches you deep inside and after seing Benjamin Dove once you never forget it. Other films I‘d like to mention are Noi the Albino and Children of Nature.”
Sigríður Pétursdóttir, film journalist for decades in both radio and TV
The Seagull‘s Laughter
“A very successful adaptation of a novel; a comical crime story, a stormy love story and a memorable coming-of-age story. A very Icelandic period drama that is charmingly isolated in time and space and features a gallery of very memorable characters. Very well done technically, both regarding cinematography, post production and visual canvas. The acting is also top notch and so is the directing.”
Hjördís Stefánsdóttir, film critic at Morgunblaðið daily
101 Reykjavík / Living Dead: HAM
“In my opinion 101 Reykjavík is the best Icelandic film. The script is great, the directing and the editing sophisticated and controlled. The music underscores the daring and funny subtext and the sets look cool. The acting is relaxed yet dynamic, the actors all shaking off the National Theater style by playing off Victoria Abril. When it comes to documentaries Living Dead: HAM is a favourite, a classic just like the band itself.”
Heiða Jóhannsdóttir, adjunct of Cinema Studies at the University of Iceland
Angels of the Universe
“Angels of the Universe is in my opinion the best Icelandic film. It‘s well acted and directed and there is only a thin line between laughter and tears in the film. The scene where the horses run down to the beach and one of them falls is always memorable and just like in the book it proves prophetic. It‘s only been 15 years since it was premiered but I think it will score highly in lists of the best Icelandic film for years to come, thanks to Einar Már Guðmundsson‘s great story, which Friðrik Þór Friðriksson really managed to capture onscreen.”
Brynja Dögg Friðriksdóttir, Documentary filmmaker and Head of Publicity at Reykjavík Shorts & Docs Festival
Stormland is not necessarily the first crisis movie but it could well be the best, something that is rather surprising considering how little attention it got from both critics and audiences. But when you watch you’re met with a vibrant, controlled and fluid fictional world – and everything has it’s flaky rhythm. Laddi gives a bravura performance, Steinn Ármann is brilliant (and he’s only in the picture for three minutes), Ólafur Darri is amazing, and the script is tight, the view of the village is devoid of the usual oddballs, it’s grey and boring and all under the heel of some modern landlord who owns fisheries or a bank, and the heritage of the sagas haven’t been played with so well before in Icelandic films (although I’m not actually sure if I’ve ever seen that heritage put to entertaining use, except when Friðrik Þór filmed Njáls Saga). There is neither a happy nor poetic ending, everybody are still crumpled spirits and a bundle of problems, and not in a funny way, something I felt was fresh and fun to see when considering how many in the Icelandic movie biz have been running away from the uncomfortable things in life. Mockery and criticism in fictionalized visual media during the boom years did have it’s peak in TV shows where a anti-military anti-capitalist (commie that is) with five University degrees, whose promised land is Sweden, gets his putdown. As everyone will know thils personalized ideology was a very actual social factor in Iceland in 2007. Stormland however hits the spot on so many levels, which can in many ways be attributed to author Hallgrímur Helgason, but the adaptation manages to draw the best parts of the book out, create an independent whole, and is the best Icelandic film I can remember.”
Björn Þór Vilhjálmsson, film and literature scholar and critic
Three Norwegian directors will visit Stockfish, all of whom have received awards and praise at film festivals from Cannes to Berlin via Sundance. Those are Bent Hamer, one of Norway‘s most famous directors who presents Norway‘s Oscar submission, 1001 Grams, screenwriter Eskil Vogt who has received raving reviews for his directorial debut Blind, and finally Unni Straume with the personal documentary REMAKE.me which covers the life of a filmmaker and how she finds new and unexpected stories on the borders between fact and fiction.
Hamer and Vogt will be present at the opening of Stockfish next Thursday and their films will be shown on February 20th, 21st and 24th. Unni will come during the latter part of the festival.
Eskil Vogt and Blind
Q&A with director Eskil Vogt will be held on Friday February 20th at 6 PM and Saturday the 21st at 6 PM. Hrönn Sveinsdóttir, filmmaker and manager of Bíó Paradís, will moderate the Q&A.
One of Stockfish’s guests of honour is cinematographer Sigurður Sverrir Pálsson. For every festival we will have a retrospective on some Icelandic filmmaker and Sigurður Sverrir is an ideal candidate to start this series off.
Sigurður Sverrir will discuss his work and answer questions after screenings of three of his films. The films are Land and Sons (1980), Tears of Stone (1995) and Cold Light (2004). Filmmaker and editor Ásgrímur Sverrisson will moderate.
Sigurður Sverrir studied philosophy at the University of Iceland and then filmmaking with a special emphasis on cinematography at the London School of Film Technique, where he graduated in 1969. He then started working for the National Television (at the time the only television station in Iceland) and worked there for years as a cinematographer, editor and upptökustjóri. He also wrote about films for the Morgunblaðið daily for years.
In 1977 hef formed the production company Lifandi myndir (Living Images) with fellow filmmakers Erlendur Sveinsson and Þórarinn Guðnason. Together they have worked on numerous documentaries, among them Iceland – A History of Fishing, The Icelandic Herring Industry, Centuries of Salted Fish and Iceland’s Thousand Years, who all deal with the history of Icelandic fisheries. They also worked together on Dream About the Road, a five-part nine hour documentary about legendary author Thor Vilhjálmsson walk down St. James Way in northern Spain in 2005, the year the recently deceased Vilhjálmsson turned 80
No other Icelandic cinematographer has shot as many features as Sigurður Sverrir, who has been the DOP at fifteen feature films, among them Dot Dot Comma Dash, The Outlaw, The Beast, Remote Control, Benjamin Dove and Ikingut.
Sigurður Sverrir has received numerous awards for his work, both at home and abroad, among them the Edda for Cinematography in 2004 for Cold Light.
Five short films have been now been chosen to participate in Shortfish 2015, the Stockfish short film competition. One of these five films will then be receive the award – Shortfish 2015.
The short films are:
Herdísarvík – Director: Sigurður Kjartan. Producer: Sara Nassim.
Gone – Directors & Producers: Vera Sölvadóttir and Helena Jónsdóttir.
Happy Endings – Director: Hannes Þór Arason. Producer: Andrew Korogoyi.
Foxes – Director: Mikel Gurrea. Producer: Eva Sigurðardóttir.
Substitute – Director: Nathan Hughes-Berry. Producer: Eva Sigurðardóttir.
The jury is composed of filmmakers Ísold Uggadóttir, Helga Rakel Rafnsdóttir and Árni Óli Ásgeirsson.
The short film competition Shortfish 2015 is held in co-operation with Canon and Nýherji who will present a special award to the winners, an EOS 70D camera worth 189.900 ISK.
Blethyn first rose to international fame with her Oscar nomination as Best Actress in Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies in 1996. Two years later she was nominated again, this time as Best Supporting Actress for the film Little Voice.
Then she has worked twice with honorary festival guest Rachid Bouchareb – and both films will be shown at the festival.
In her first collaboration with Bouchareb, London River, she plays a woman who looks for her daughter in the chaotic aftermath of the London bombings of 2005. But during the search she is befriended by an African muslim searching for his son. Neither was close to their children, which is manifested in neither knowing their kids were living together.
Then we will show their most recent collaboration, Two Men in Town, where they are joined by three other Academy nominated actors in Forest Whitaker, Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel.
In the film Blethyn plays parole officer Emily who just moved to a small town in New Mexico, near the Mexican borders. Soon she befriends one of her clients, William (Whitaker), who just got out of jail and is not allowed to leave the state. But he will struggle to stay out of jail, both because of his quick temper and also because his former colleagues are everywhere, trying him to get him back in the game. Then there is the cop who imprisoned him in the first place (Keitel) – who is more than willing to do so again.
The FAMU film school in Prague, Czech Republic, is probably Central Europe’s best known film school and among it’s alumni are directors such as Miloš Forman, Agnieszka Holland, Emir Kusturica, Věra Chytilová, Jiří Menzel, Goran Paskaljević and Jan Hřebejk.
Stockfish will be in cooperation with FAMU and during the first festival a Mini MIDPOINT workshop with FAMU’s dean Pavel Jech will be held on 21-22. February. Applications must be sent to email@example.com and the deadline is Thursday the 5th of February. A producer and a writer/director with their first or second feature in development must apply together.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
Pavel Jech, the dean of FAMU (the Czech national film school) and the head of studies of the MIDPOINT Central European Script Center, will be conducting a two-day script development workshop during the upcoming Stockfish European Film Festival in Reykjavík, which will be held at Bíó Paradís and other locations from February 19 – March 1, 2015.
Four projects currently in development, and represented by teams of writers and producers, will be selected to participate in the workshop. The selection will be made by a committee consisting of representatives from the professional filmmakers associations in Iceland, the Icelandic Film Centre and MIDPOINT.
If you’d like to apply for the workshop, please follow the instructions below.
miniMIDPOINT Workshop in Iceland
Dates: February 21-22, 2015
Venue: Icelandic Film Centre
Tutor: Pavel Jech
WHO IS THIS WORKSHOP FOR?
Two-person teams consisting of one writer (can be a writer/director) and one producer with first or second features in development
A logline, a synopsis and a detailed treatment (or a completed draft of a script)
A letter of interest (why you would like to take part in the workshop)
A team of two (a writer with a producer attached)
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
The workshop will include detailed script analysis of each participating project, both in group sessions and in an in-depth individual consultation. Participants are also expected to take part in Pavel Jech’s master class on Friday, February 20, which will introduce the general methodological framework for the subsequent workshop.
The requested documents should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Workshop Application” on or before Thursday, February 5, 2015. All application materials must be written in English.
The MIDPOINT Central European Script Center was launched by FAMU Prague (the Czech national film school) as a professional script development and film dramaturgy training platform for students and film professionals.
MIDPOINT was created with the belief that script development can be enhanced by supporting writers, directors and producers to become creative partners in the process.
MIDPOINT operates year-round, organising a variety of workshops and other services within the field of script development.
ABOUT THE TUTOR
Pavel Jech is the current dean of FAMU (the Czech national film school) and the head of studies of the MIDPOINT Central European Script Center. He is a graduate of both the Columbia University School of the Arts and FAMU. Pavel has broad teaching experience in scriptwriting and dramaturgy, both in the Czech Republic and in the US, and has worked internationally as a screenwriter and script doctor.
Stockfish European Film Festival in Reykjavik proudly presents the first five films of the festival program – but in total they will number around thirty.
There will be a Chinese psychological thriller that won at last year’s Berlinale, a 3D film by one of cinema‘s grandmasters, Jean-Luc Godard, a realistic French drama about a middle-aged French barmaid which won two awards at Cannes last year, a comedy about a controversial French author who is kidnapped and one of this year’s nominees for the Best Foreign Films Oscar, an Argentinean anthology film composed of six stories about revenge.
The five films are the following:
An Argentinean film nominated as the Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards. It was also in the main competition at Cannes last year. The film consist of six short stories who all focus on revenge in some way, where ghosts of the past, tragedy and violence play loose in stories that are full of pitch-black humour.
The film won two awards at last year’s Cannes Film Festival where it opened the Un Certain Regard sidebar. It‘s the debut feature of three young directors and tells the story of sixty year old barmaid Angelique. She gets a chance to turn her back on years of partying when one of the regulars asks her to marry him.
Black Coal, Thin Ice won the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlinale. It takes place in small town Northern-China in 1999 and 2004 where one strange murder leads to another. A must-see tale of mystery and intrigue.
Goodbye to Language 3D is the most recent film from 84 year old master of cinema Jean-Luc Godard. This is his first 3D picture and he manages to use the format in a way never seen before. Won the Jury Prize in Cannes last year.
A fantastic comedy about rascals who kidnap French author Michel Houellebecq (playing himself) – but soon feel a bit kidnapped themselves by the victim. The film won the screenplay price at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was also nominated as the best film at the same festival.
Rachid Bouchareb is a Frenchman of Algerian descent and many of his films deal with the immigrant experience and it‘s historical roots. He has directed nine feature films and three of them have been nominated for the Academy Awards as the Best Foreign Language Film. All of those films were been nominated on behalf of Algeria and no other African director has been nominated more than once in this category. The nominated films were Dust of Life (Poussières de vie) in 1996, Days of Glory (Indigènes) in 2006 and finally Beyond the Law (Hors-la-loi) in 2010.
Now he brings us Two Men in Town and the film stars Oscar nominees Forest Whitaker, Brenda Blethyn, Harvey Keitel and Ellen Burstyn in leading roles – but both Whitaker and Burstyn ended up winning the golden statue.
In the film Blethyn plays parole officer Emily who just moved to a small town in New Mexico, near the Mexicanborders. Soon she befriends one of her clients, William (Whitaker), but he just got out of jail and is not allowed to leave the state. But he will struggle to stay out of jail, both because of his quick temper and also because his former colleagues are everywhere, trying him to get him back in the game. Then there is the cop who imprisoned him in the first place (Keitel) – who is more than willing to do so again.