08 Feb

Icelanders Lurking Everywhere?

11935166_10207271089349598_2445425891364538170_oLast spring I wrote about the splendid Icelandic indie film Rams, by Grimur Hakonarson, when it got the ‘Certain Regard’ prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then it has gotten several other awards and brilliant reviews. Rams is showing in UK Cinemas now.

If you want to catch another Icelander on the silver screen you can go and see Olafur Darri Olafsson in Zoolander 2, and if you want to see more of him, he has a lot bigger role in the brand new TV series Trapped, starting on BBC Four next Saturday. Trapped is the first Nordic Noir series from Iceland shown on BBC.


There are several directors working on the series, amongst them the director of Everest, Baltasar Kormakur. You can read about him in my blog from the beginning of September. Another is Baldvin Z, director of Life in a Fishbowl, which screened at the East End Film Festival last summer. Tim Evans was kind enough to share his thoughts on the film with me.

There’s another Icelander showing his skills on British TV these days. Gisli Orn Gardarsson plays Breca in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. The fantasy drama is on ITV Sunday nights at 7pm. Gardarsson is also known as the theatre director of Vesturport.

On top of that, composer Johann Johannsson might get his second BAFTA award for his score for Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario next Sunday. Last year Johannsson took home a BAFTA for the music he wrote for The Theory of Everything.

Lurking behind the scenes are also two exceptional artists from the island. Heba Thorisdottir is responsible for the excellent make up in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Hildur Gudnadottir plays the cello for Iñarritu’s Revenant. There are probably many others I don’t know about. Icelanders seem to be everywhere these days.



24 May

‘Rams’ win Cannes

RAMSenYesterday was a grand day for Icelandic film history. I’m still smiling.  An Icelandic feature won the ‘Certain Regard’ prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s the first time an Icelandic feature gets this prestigious award. The movie is called Rams and it’s director Grimur Hákonarson’s portrayal of the relationship between farmers and their animals in a remote Icelandic valley. I mentioned it in my first entry. The result was not that surprising, after all Rams had gotten great reviews in the media;


Screen Daily

The Hollywood Reporter

The top prizes for the main selection will be awarded tonight during the closing ceremony at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. Jury presidents, the Coen brothers, will announce the winners. The big question of the day is who will go home with the Palm d’Or!


14 May

Mesmerised by sheep

10404342_850710088347526_6383692773440495462_nThe Icelandic nation is mesmerised in front of the screens at the moment as The National Icelandic Broadcasting Service (RÚV) has begun its first foray into so-called “Slow TV”, popularized by our cousins in Norway. The Norwegian state broadcaster has in the past had live feeds from f.ex. ferry sailing. The first Icelandic slow tv broadcast is from the annual birthing of lambs. It is being shown live for 24 hours.

 Meanwhile the Icelandic film director Grímur Hákonarson is bringing his new film, Rams, to the Cannes Film Festival. It has been selected for the Un Certain Regard section. Rams is set in a remote Icelandic farming valley, where two brothers who haven’t spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what’s dearest to them – their sheep. The film was shot in the remote valley of Bárdardalur in the north of Iceland this past winter. Grímur has told Variety all about it.

 Here in the UK, the news do not focus on rams at the moment. Not exactly. However Nigel Farage and prince Charles have been on the news a lot today. The former leader of UKIP, Farage, doesn’t seem to know if he’s coming or going these days. You can read more about it here.

Prince Charles 27 letters to then Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of his government between September 2004 and March 2005 have been in the spotlight. The question is if the letters influenced the government. The prince obviously cares about farming, cause writing to Mr Blair, he expresses a “growing sense of anxiety” that the Hill Farming Allowance, which supports farmers working on Britain’s uplands, could be scrapped. On the BBC news website you can read more about the letters.