30 Sep

Hampstead Heath – photo gallery

12052384_10206488167297036_3093669693632837370_oOnly a few miles from central London is this magical place called Hampstead Heath. It’s an ancient and historic London Park, covering almost 800 acres of woodland, meadows, grasslands and ponds. Hampstead Heath is an important refuge for wildlife and history nuggets are everywhere to be found. The captivating sights have been an inspiration for artists and several movies have been shot in the area. Even some of London’s most infamous crimes have been committed there. The Heath is also famous for being the perfect place for lovers.  A stroll there is simply a delight and highly recommended for visitors and locals alike.

24 Sep

An Icelandic restaurant pops up in London

425594_405887002760625_337106445_nIt isn’t often people can visit a restaurant from Iceland in London, but now is the chance. During the last weekend of October, a restaurant with the ideology of the Icelandic restaurant Friðrik V vill open in a space called A_SPACE, near the Angel tube station.

Friðrik’s V speciality is that the restaurant does not have an à la carte menu. Instead, the guests are invited on a surprise trip, where the chefs create a magical evening, cooking from the freshest material from Iceland.

This pop-up restaurant will be open three nights, from the 29th – 31st of October. A five course surprise menu with selected drinks will be served. Booking has started and there’s limited seating.

Information and booking:

fridrikvlondon@fridrikv.is

www.fridrikv.is

Friðrik V on Facebook

tel. (354) – 461-5775

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22 Sep

Virgin Mountain – Video interviews

virgin-mountain-01‘Stuck on the cusp of adolescence and adulthood, forty-something Fúsi still lives at home with his mother, eats the same food week after week, works a mundane job and stoically absorbs all the shit that life throws at him. A morbidly obese, black-metal-loving, dishevelled giant of a man, Fúsi’s shyness and lack of confidence has resulted in his having little to no romantic experience with women. A backhanded gift of line dancing classes leads to an encounter with the vivacious but damaged Sjöfn.’ – Sarah Lutton

These days I’m attending the press screenings ahead of the BFI London Film Festival. The Icelandic film Virgin Mountain by Dagur Kári Gunnarsson is one of the movies that delegates from the press and the film industry got to see today. The film will be screened twice at the festival, on the 8th and the 10th of October. When the press screening of Virgin Mountain was over I was lucky enough to get three people from the audience to share their thoughts with me.

Director: Dagur Kári
Producers: Baltasar Kormakur, Agnes Johansen, Bo Ehrhardt, Mikkel Jersin
Screenwriter: Dagur Kári
With; Gunnar Jónsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir, Sigurjón Kjartansson
Iceland-Denmark 2015
94 mins
Sales BAC Films

21 Sep

History at every step

5History is at every step in London. Tudor, Victorian and Edwardian architecture is everywhere and as are the stories of famous people who used to live in the buildings.

Guided history walks are really popular here in London. I’ve been on a few of them myself and have never been disappointed. On Saturday, I went to a ‘Historic Local Walk: South Hampstead’, held by Friends of St Mary’s, a charity supporting vulnerable young people.

We had an excellent guide, David Brown, who most definitely knew the art of mixing knowledge and entertainment. I had never heard about the Hampstead murders, nor had I ever heard about Martina Bergman Österberg, a pioneer in physical education for women and a suffragette. I was also introduced to a very different lady, Lillie Langtry, one of the many mistresses of Albert Edward the Prince of Wales.

The house Sean Connery lived in while filming James Bond.

The house Sean Connery lived in while filming James Bond.

The house where T.S. Eliot was a lodger when he met his first wife Vivienne.

The house where T.S. Eliot was a lodger when he met his first wife Vivienne.

If you are visiting London, I highly recommend going on one of these walks.

 

 

16 Sep

Watch them try Brennivín! – videos

440px-Brennivin2This is how Wikipedia describes the Icelandic Brennivín, something everyone visiting Iceland simply has to try:

‘Brennivín is a clear, unsweetened schnapps that is considered to be Iceland‘s signature distilled beverage. It is a popular Icelandic liquor and special-occasion alcohol shot, and the traditional drink for the mid-winter feast of Þorrablót. It is made from fermented grain or potato mash and flavoured with caraway, and for this reason can be considered anaquavit.[1] The steeping of herbs in alcohol to create schnapps is a long-held folk tradition in Scandinavian countries. Brennivín has a unique and distinctive taste similar to vodka or Scandinavian akvavit. It is typically bottled at 80 proof.’

I find Brennivín rather disgusting, to be honest. It reminds me of my teenage years, when beer was banned in Iceland. The youngsters drank Brennivín, distilled spirit people produced at home, or even some home-brewed horror. My taste buds never agreed with any of it.

There are several videos on Youtube where people from all over the world try Brennivín.

Enjoy!

And sometimes people even sing about Brennivín.

11 Sep

Icelandic short wins London Calling awards

feature_Rainbow_Party_London_CallingYesterday, the Icelandic short Rainbow Party by Eva Sigurdardottir got the London Calling awards.

The winner was awarded a £2,000 prize and this is what the jury had to say about Rainbow Party: ‘We felt it was brilliantly-performed and incredibly well-crafted, with excellent casting. It is rare to see teenage sexuality so bravely and intelligently interrogated.’

London Calling. BFI. 10/9/2015

London Calling. BFI. 10/9/2015. Photo from their website.

The film was produced with production funding from Film London, amongst others. Eva Sigurdardottir (director/writer/producer) and Ragnheidur Erlingsdottir (producer) attended the London event at the BFI.

A selection of shorts will premiere at this year’s BFI London Film Festival on Thursday 15 and Saturday 17 October as part of the London Calling programme. I can’t wait to see Rainbow Party at the festival.

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Eva’s production company, Askja Films, has many interesting projects in development, like the documentary The Hot Tub I told you about in June.

‘Eva Sigurdardottir is a BAFTA nominated Film Producer who is based between Reykjavik, Iceland and London, England. Eva’s Producer credits include the BAFTA nominated short film Good Night (2012), as well as Red Reflections (2014), The Substitute (2014), and Foxes (2014). Eva also Line Produced the feature film Rams (2015) by Grímur Hákonarson which premiered at the Festival de Cannes in the Un Certain Regards section and won the prestigious award.

Upcoming projects include the feature film Heartstone (dir: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson) with Join Motion Pictures, which is due to shoot in the autumn of 2015. Short films in production include Salvation (dir: Thora Hilmarsdottir), the short documentary Hot Tub (dir: Harpa Fönn Sigurjónsdóttir) and Rainbow Party (dir: Eva Sigurdardottir). Eva is also currently developing a range of feature film projects with the directors that she nurtured through short films as well as with new talent.

Eva studied Television Production at the University of Westminster in London, graduating with a first class honours degree in 2008. Since graduating Eva has worked on shorts and feature films, and has travelled the world self-shooting a documentary series on world religions. Eva worked at the BBC for three years, specializing in children’s animation, acquisitions and drama. Later she worked as the Production Manager of the Film & Photography department at the charity Save the Children. Currently Eva is working as a Film Producer in Iceland and the UK for her company Askja Films, as well as she is employed at Netop Films as a Producer and Project Manager. Her work at Netop Films include Line Producing the feature film Rams (2015) by Grímur Hákonarsson and the feature documentary Óli Prik (2015) by Árni Sveinsson.’

Text from the Askja Films website.

 

09 Sep

One is still reigning!

555px-Elizabeth_II_greets_NASA_GSFC_employees,_May_8,_2007_editCongratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on becoming the UK’s longest-serving monarch!

Today, at 5.30PM, she has passed the record set by her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Adored by so many and hated by others, this tiny woman has reigned for 63 years and seven months. Her Majesty has said that she doesn’t want a fuss to be made, but of course there are celebrations.

Since I moved to England I’ve thoroughly enjoyed observing the complicated relationship this nation has with its Royal Family. In a way, The British Monarchy is their Disneyland. I used to wonder why on earth a nation would spend so much money on something as trivial in modern times. The answer is quite simple, I’m told they cash in even more than they spend on it. It’s always about money, isn’t it?

It’s also about entertainment. Nothing has made me giggle more recently than the Queen’s fake twitter account.

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I love people’s diversity. This would be one boring life if everyone was the same. There are Royal fans and there are super fans.  Here are two videos that made me smile.

 

07 Sep

Congrats Iceland!

football-157930_640Last night was a night of celebration in Iceland. For the first time, the national team in men’s football has secured a spot at a major international tournament thanks to their point from a goalless draw with Kazakhstan. They are through to the UEFA Euro 2016, held in France next summer.

I’m happy for the men’s team to finally be able to celebrate what the Icelandic women’s football team has celebrated three times already, in 1995, 2009 and 2013.

Well done!

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