23 Oct

Your Heart Just Beats!

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 16.11.40At the moment I’m incredibly proud of being Icelandic. The reason is the same as often before, that matters regarding LGBTQI+ rights are quite progressive in Iceland. I’ve written about it before, here and here.

Last Sunday the longest running TV program for children, ‘Stundin okkar’, (Our hour) aired an episode in the afternoon, just like most Sundays during the wintertime for more than three decades. However, this episode was different. It featured the Pop artist Paul Oscar as the main guest, touching  on the topic of being gay. The conversation was open, very natural and heartfelt. The fact that this was aired on RUV, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, makes me very happy.

‘Some guys like other guys, some guys like girls. Some girls like guys, some girls like other girls. – You don’t decide what makes your heart beat, it just beats.’

We’re one step closer to equality. Well done!

Gay Pride last August, Paul Oscar singing.

 

 

21 Oct

Trolls and Elves in Iceland

Photo: Hörður JónassonI just watched a very interesting piece on BBC Earth. Melissa Hogenboom travelled to Iceland to search for trolls. It did not go quite the way she expected. This is one of the best programmes I’ve seen about this subject. If you have twelve minutes to spare watching this is a time well spent. Click on the link below to watch.

We went hunting for trolls and found a deeper truth.

09 Oct

Icelandic delicacy at Borough Market

12066052_955169254576686_1571104862316647427_nFoodies interested in trying Icelandic food are in for a treat this weekend! If you go to Borough Market I highly recommend you try f.ex. flatbread with smoked trout or lamb, harðfiskur and skyr.

The Icelandic Pantry brings the best of Iceland’s cuisine to London and this is how they introduce it on Facebook:

‘From 7-10 October, Londoners will be able to experience a taste of Iceland when Icelandic farmers, fishermen and other independent food producers will be selling their produce at London’s famous Borough Market for the first time.

“The Icelandic Pantry” marks the first time Borough Market has hosted an Icelandic guest market allowing the primary food producers to travel from Iceland to speak directly with UK shoppers and sell their products.

Shaped by the harsh climate, Icelandic food traditions are inspirational to modern food producers. From blueberry-cured lamb to artisan pastries, the world’s only geothermally produced sea salt to an eco-whey drink blended with wild Iceland moss and Arctic thyme, Icelandic producers are renowned for their unique and innovative approaches to food and drink production.

The country’s different regions are represented with organic lambs fed on angelica to give it a special flavour from West Iceland, hot-smoked mackerel from the East and artisan rhubarb brittle from South Iceland will all be there. Some foods also give an insight into Iceland’s rich history, such as a special flatbread dating from the settlement in the 9th century.

Farmers markets are growing in popularity in Iceland and The Icelandic Pantry is the country’s largest artisanal food fayre, taking place in Reykjavik. Founders, Eirný Sigurðardóttir and Hlédís Sveinsdóttir have brought together 14 of the Icelandic producers to travel to London in October.

Eirny Sigurðardóttir says: “For the first time, Icelandic farmers are traveling to London to sell their products there. The purpose of the trip is not only to introduce Icelandic food culture and products to Brits, but it’s also a learning experience for us, which will help us grow and improve.”

Borough Market’s David Matchett added: “The Icelandic Pantry event is an opportunity for the city’s food lovers to sample and learn about Icelandic cuisine, as well as a chance for local and small scale producers from the country to showcase and talk about what’s special about what they eat to a new UK audience. Icelandic people are among the healthiest on earth and are also one of the most resourceful, living in a harsh and unforgiving environment. They also have a focus on sustainability, which is a way of life rather than an aspiration, so as a market we have a lot of shared values and are excited to welcome them here in October.”’

Enjoy!

12034249_949698985123713_1927285012994727431_o

 

 

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

394813_345864822096177_431101001_n

10928944_1043561555659830_8941953362417810417_o

 

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

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.

rainbowgrabs_1.175.2-702x394

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.

 

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!

360px-Football_féminin_icon-fr.svg