Micro-cinema opens in Seydisfjördur Skip to content

Micro-cinema opens in Seydisfjördur

A new venue for alternative art and film called Mini-Ciné opened last month in the quiet town of Seydisfjördur (population approx. 800) in Iceland’s Eastfjords.

Local school children were given the privilege to be the first audience in the 20-seat micro-cinema when it opened on December 8.

“Children are a captive audience and there is not much for children to do in town, so we thought it would be nice to use the cinema for our youngest audience,” Hassan Harazi, one of Mini-Ciné’s two owners, tells icelandreview.com.

“We showed them a selection of short films; they were animation and documentary, up to five minutes long,” Harazi says. “They were a bit shocked at first; the children are used to large cinemas. But we had some good feedback from them; they were pleased to have something different to do in the town,” he adds.

The micro-cinema is the brainchild of Hassan Harazi and his partner Lilja Dögg Jónsdóttir Eldon. They moved to Seydisfjördur from Reykjavík last summer with their children, Hilmar Smári, aged three, and one-year-old Heidbjörk Embla.

“We were looking to move out of Reykjavík. We have two young children and wanted them to grow up in the countryside,” Harazi says, “and Seydisfjördur is the most beautiful town in Iceland, apparently. It is nice and quiet.”

Mini-Ciné is housed in what used to be the oldest shop in Iceland, Verslunin E.J. Waage, which dates back to the year 1890 (pictured). “We found this house that has a shop attached to it that suited our needs, so we just bought it and moved there,” Harazi says.

“It was always our goal to open a micro-cinema,” Harazi explains. “We used to run a micro-cinema in Reykjavík and were having problems with hiring places – it is very expensive – so it was our goal to own the venue. It gives us more freedom.”

“We will be showing lots of short film, we encourage filmmakers all over the world to send us their work,” Harazi says. “Next summer we will be holding a photography competition, also for school children. The venue is adaptable for lots of things.”

“We’re hoping the micro-cinema will become a tourist attraction. Lots of tourists come to the town because of the ferry Norraena [which sails between Seydisfjördur, the Faroe Islands and the European mainland],” Harazi explains.

Harazi is originally from England. He was a member of the Exploding Cinema Collective in London in the 1990s, a founding member of the cinema Bíó Reykjavík and ran Lundabíó Alternative Cinema in Reykjavík before moving to Seydisfjördur.

“Moving to Iceland seemed like a good thing to do at the time. I was traveling around and had never been to Iceland,” Harazi says. “I liked it so I stayed and that is where I met my girlfriend.”

“I have always been interested in photography and film, since I was nine or ten years old,” Harazi says. “I have a real passion for cinemas. I find films should be viewed in dark and grim cinemas with other people rather than at home on television.”

In 2004 Harazi and Eldon founded the Freedom Council, a non-profit organization to promote arts, and visual arts in particular.

Harazi and Eldon are pictured with their two children.

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