Iceland will soon have its first film premiere since gathering ban restrictions were relaxed, RÚV reports. Mentor, directed by Sigurður Anton Friðþjófsson, is a comedy and coming-of-age story about Beta, a 17-year-old who wants to take part in an upcoming national standup competition and looks to Húgó, a comedian who won the competition ten years previous, to help her prepare. But Húgó, she soon discovers, takes preparations much more seriously than she does.
Mentor is Sigurður Anton’s third feature film, following 2015’s Webcam and 2017’s Snjór og Salóme (‘Snow and Salóme’). It will not only be the first Icelandic film to make its debut in Iceland since the COVID-19 crisis closed movie theatres, but the first new film from anywhere to be shown. Sonja Valdin (who is also part of the music group Áttan, responsible for 2017’s wildly popular earworm “Neinei”) plays Beta, and Þórhallur Þórhallsson—who did, in fact, win the ‘Fyndnasti maður Íslands’ (‘Funniest person in Iceland’) competition twelve years ago—plays Húgó. Þórhallur also happens to be the son of Þórhallur Sigurðsson, better known as Laddi, one of Iceland’s most famous comedians and voice actors.
“I’ve always loved standup, as long as I can remember,” remarked Sigurður Anton. “I’ve also been in the standup scene for many years and always wanted to make a movie [about it], but didn’t have the right angle. Then I met Sonja and Þórhallur and got the idea of doing something about two generations.”
Sigurður Anton’s films have all focused on people who are trying to find their footing in life. “I make movies about me and the people I know and our reality,” he explained, adding that a comedy makes sense as Iceland makes its way out of a very difficult winter. “This is the first new movie in theatres after the gathering ban,” he said. “And I think it’s exactly what we need.”
Mentor will premiere on June 24.