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REYKJAVIK 2018 Industry

A dramatic and intriguing line-up of Icelandic works in progress at Reykjavik


- A variety of upcoming Icelandic projects were presented at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, including fiction features, TV series and documentaries

A dramatic and intriguing line-up of Icelandic works in progress at Reykjavik
The Deposit by Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir

Iceland’s feature films have enjoyed constant festival success in the past few years, and all eyes are now on the upcoming film and TV projects emerging from this small film industry, which only makes about ten features per year. 

Out of the four features presented this year as works in progress at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, the biggest hopes internationally are probably invested in Grimur Hákonarson’s The County. This story about a strong woman who has to get her life on track again after her husband’s death is surely looking to repeat the runaway festival success of Hákonarson’s previous movie, Rams [+see also:
film review
interview: Grimur Hakonarson
film profile
 – especially with the same sales agent, New Europe Film Sales, already attached.

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Two other projects in the making presented strong female characters in central roles, with Silja Hauksdóttir’s Agnes Cho showing the life of an 18-year-old girl within a family power struggle (produced by Vintage Pictures), while in The Deposit by Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir, middle-aged Gisella shows hospitality to two female immigrants by offering them somewhere to rent, but soon a culture clash starts to emerge and Gisella tries to gain control of the situation, which is rapidly getting out of hand.

The feature-film projects were rounded off by A White, White Day, directed by Hlynur Pálmason and produced by Join Motion Pictures. In the lead role is the omnipresent Ingvar E Sigurdsson, playing an off-duty police chief who starts to suspect that his wife, who recently passed away, was having an affair, and he is determined to get to the bottom of it.

The feature projects were accompanied by three new TV series, which efficiently demonstrated Iceland’s ability to work both within the Nordic crime-series genre (The Flatey EnigmaTrapped 2) and outside it, as yet another strong female lead was showcased in a series called Happily Never After, starring, scripted, directed and produced by actress Nanna Kristin Magnusdóttir. The 6x30-minute mini-series is a bittersweet but comical tale of a woman who hits a midlife crisis after finding out that her husband is cheating on her.

Additionally, four documentary projects were shown off. Booty by Örn Marinó Arnarson and Thorkell Hardarson tackles a global topic and focuses on contraband art and cultural objects that are still smuggled on a massive scale all over the world, even today. The other three documentaries opt to have a more intense human focus. Yrsa Roca Fannberg’s The Last Autumn shows the end of a farmstead that has been in a family for generations, Dive: Rituals in Water (by Elin Hansdóttir, Hanna Björk Valsdóttir and Anna Rún Tryggvadóttir) portrays an infant swimming instructor, and in a certain way, Northbound Birth by Dögg Mósesdóttir adds to the water-and-infants theme with its exploration of home births in Iceland.

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