In spite of a 30 percent cut in state contributions to the Icelandic film industry and outcries from filmmakers that the industry would be deeply impacted, 11 Icelandic films will premiere this year.
“The number doesn’t tell the whole story,” director Ólafur Jóhannesson, who premiers two films this year, Kurteist fólk (see poster) and Borgríki, told Fréttabladid.
The first film was made by conventional means of financing, including funds from the Icelandic Film Center, but the latter was made with volunteer work and donations, including a post production grant from the Film Center. “That enabled us to finish it and create a quality product,” Jóhannesson explained.
He pointed out that only four films of those scheduled to premiere this year were made with the conventional funding from the Film Center, in addition to Kurteist fólk, Okkar eigin Osló, Djúpid and Rokland—fewer films than usual; in the past few years around seven pictures have been made with state funding.
Jóhannesson said doesn’t recommend making movies the way he did with Borgríki, as it is far too great of a risk. “You make a movie like that only once.”
In fact, Jóhannesson said he doesn’t understand all of the filmmakers willing to take the unconventional route. “What’s happening is that people are into self-torture and believe that a film can give them some self-respect or a purpose in life,” he concluded.