Björk to Participate in Anti-Whaling Protest This Saturday

Iceland whaling Hvalur hf

Icelandic musician Björk will participate in an anti-whaling protest in Reykjavík on Saturday, June 3. The organisers of the event are urging the Icelandic government to put a stop to whaling immediately.

Speeches, music, and a workshop

As noted in a press release sent to Icelandic media this morning, musician Björk is set to participate in an artistic event against whaling to be held at the Hjartatorg Square in downtown Reykjavík (below Laugavegur, between Smiðjustígur and Klapparstígur) on Saturday, June 3.

Icelandic musicians Högni and JFDR will take the stage, and speeches will be delivered by actress Hera Hilmars, Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir, alongside representatives from Ungir umhverfissinnar (the Icelandic Youth Environmental Association) and the Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network. The two associations will also announce a pending lawsuit against the Icelandic government if the authorities do not revoke the whaling licence immediately.

During the event, organisers will circulate two petitions, an Icelandic and an international one, which will be submitted to the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Prime Minister next week. As noted in the press release, over 100,000 signatures have already been collected on over the past month. Nearly 18,000 individuals have signed the Icelandic petition.

A solidarity march from the old harbour

The event will begin at 2 PM at the Old Harbor in Reykjavík where attendees will gather around Fífill, a boat owned by the Elding whale watching company, and proceed towards Hjartatorg square, “in the spirit of the journeys that finback whales embark on every year, from the Azores past Iceland to Svalbard.”

Following the procession, the event itself will take place between 3 and 7 PM and will be emceed by actress and comedienne Saga Garðarsdóttir. The organisers will also host an art workshop for children, who will be afforded the opportunity to paint and make their own flags. The musical performances and speeches will be punctuated by DJ sets from Guðmundur Arnalds, Juanma b2b, and Björk. “Join us for a day of music, solidarity, and artistic expression as we gather for a cause close to our hearts,” the Facebook event reads.

As noted on IR in early May, Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir stated that it was not possible to halt whaling this season, despite a report showing that the practice is not in line with legislation on animal welfare. “Iceland’s only active whaling company, Hvalur hf., says it is developing two methods to make hunting more efficient, one that uses artificial intelligence and another that uses an electric current,” the article notes.

RIFF Kicks Off with ‘Bipolar Musical Documentary with Elephants’

The 17th annual Reykjavík International Film Festival, or RIFF, will kick off this year on September 24 and, for the first time, will include online screenings and events, Vísir reports.

The festival will open with a night screening of The Third Pole, a “bipolar musical documentary with elephants” by author and former presidential candidate Andri Snær Magnason and visual artist and director Anní Ólafsdóttir.

Per the description on Andri Snær’s website, The Third Pole is “part road movie, part musical, part serious inquiry into the caverns of the mind” and “follows Anna Tara Edwards, an Icelander raised in Nepal, and legendary musician Högni Egilsson, as they journey to Anna’s childhood home in the mountain jungles to explore the afflictions and superpowers that come with bipolar disorder. Delving into their respective pasts through textured archival footage and home videos, the narrative follows their present-day quest to raise awareness about the disease and come to terms with the impact it’s had on their own lives.”

This is Anní Ólafsdóttir’s first feature-length film, but Andri Snær’s second foray into filmmaking, as he previously co-directed Dreamland, a documentary based on his book Dreamland – a Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation.

RIFF will run from September 24 to October 20, with in-person screenings at Bíó Paradís and the Nordic House in Reykjavík. This year, the festival is also expanding its reach (and responding to the needs of the current moment) by offering online screenings and events as well. The festival will be highlighting European films this year, as the European Film Awards will be presented in Iceland in December.

See more about the festival, including information on the daily program and how to buy tickets (both available soon) in English here.