Fjöldi íslenskra heimildamynda er um þessar mundir í sýningum á nokkrum af helstu heimildamyndahátíðum heims, Góði hirðirinn eftir Helgu Rakel Rafnsdóttur á Visions du Reél, Þriðji póllinn eftir Andra Snæ Magnason og Anní Ólafsdóttur og A Song Called Hate eftir Önnu Hildi Hildibrandsdóttur á CPH:DOX, Band eftir Álfrúnu Örnólfsdóttur í Verk í vinnslu á CPH:DOX og loks Hækkum rána eftir Guðjón Ragnarsson á Hot Docs.
Kunnur kvikmyndablaðamaður, Geoffrey McNab, skrifar um þetta á vefinn Business Doc Europe og ræðir við Laufeyju Guðjónsdóttur hjá Kvikmyndamiðstöð:
Documentary has been pushed up the agenda at the Icelandic Film Centre in recent times. Around €1.3m is set aside to support feature docs each year. There is also extra infrastructural support with seminars and workshops, and promotional support for the sector. IFC director Laufey Guðjónsdóttir talks to BDE of a concerted attempt to “get the overall framework stronger for docs.”
In spite of the turbulence caused by Covid, the strategy appears to be paying dividends. There was a strong Icelandic presence both at Visions du Réel in Nyon last week and at CPH:DOX.
Helga Rakel Rafnsdóttir’s Spare Parts, about an eccentric man whose farm is full of wrecked cars, competed in the medium length and short film category at VdR. Meanwhile, Spanish directors Rafa Molés and Pepe Andreu’ Lobster Soup, on which Icelandic outfit Axfilms was the minority co-producer, also showed at the Swiss Festival, in Grand Angle. Sold by Wide, this is the story of a tiny cafe in a small town to which fishermen, musicians, football fans and tourists all flock – but whose growing popularity also attracts greedy, profit-seeking investors.
“I think we have a bunch of very talented filmmakers in documentary and they’ve been doing a great job,” Guðjónsdóttir says.
Prominent names in the new Icelandic doc wave include Rafnsdóttir; editor turned director Stefanía Thors (who had a hit at Hot Docs last year with The School Of Housewives); Yrsa Roca Fannberg (director of 2019’s The Last Autumn and who now has a new project set in an old people’s home); newcomer Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir whose doc Band has been chosen for the work in progress section of the CPH: Forum this week; former Sundance winner Ísold Uggadóttir who is developing new doc The Tower, and Gudjón Ragnarsson, whose girls’ basketball film Raise The Bar screens in Hot Docs.
Meanwhile, Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdóttir created a splash last year with her debut feature doc A Song Called Hate (sold by Level K), about outrageous Icelandic punk group Hatari (an anti-capitalist, BDSM, techno-dystopian, performance art collective) who ruffled feathers when they represented their country in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.
Production outfits like Compass Films and Akkeri Films are also thriving. Akkeri, launched by Hanna Björk Valsdóttir and sound designer Björn Viktorsson in 2015, had notable success both with The Last Autumn and with 2019 festival favourite Dive: Rituals In Water, directed by Elín Hansdóttir, Valsdóttir herself and Anna Rún Tryggvadóttir.
“Nicely enough, it is a bunch of powerful women who seem to be driving the scene here,” Guðjónsdóttir says of the ongoing Icelandic doc revival. “Somehow, more women seem to be working in documentaries than feature films.”