Iceland: Land of Ideals and Volcanos

Do your screen savers flicker with images of fuming Icelandic volcanos? Is it your lifelong dream to travel to the geothermal kingdoms in the middle of unspoiled nature? Are you one of the true fans of the fragile sounds of contemporary Icelandic music? You can discover the original Icelandic nature and culture which has proved many a time that “size doesn’t matter” in the next two weeks at Explore Icelandic documentary from June 8 to 21 for free!

The clash between reality and romantic ideals of life at the foot of volcanos in one of the richest countries of today is shown in ASH and ICELAND YEAR ZERO. In the film with the telling title ASH, director Herbert Sveinbjornsson tells the story of three Icelandic families endangered by the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April 2010. In a few days, the life which had benefited from a close symbiosis with nature became a nightmare in which nature could have taken everything from the people, including their lives. A dramatic change, this time in a social landscape, is depicted in ICELAND YEAR ZERO. The film revisits the year 2008 in which one of the world’s most prosperous countries was struck by an economic crisis leading to the collapse of the banking system. How did the small nation with a singular regenerative power face it? How does it face the dreams of immigrants who decided to come to the promised land? Find out more in the documentary HOUSE OF HOPE.

Remarkable life stories are portrayed in SALÓME and GRANDMA LO-FI. The documentary debut by Yrsa Roca Fannberg SALÓME, the first Icelandic holder of the Best Nordic Documentary Award, captures the difficult situation of a reunion of a mother and a daughter after years of separation. The daughter, who is the director of the documentary, is a dedicated filmmaker trying to capture the personality of the mother, an ill but still active visual artist. While gradually revealing the complicated relationship of the two women, the film introduces the broader topic of the relationship of the author behind the camera and the person in front of it. A unique personality also appears in front of the camera of three musicians and debuting filmmakers in GRANDMA LO-FI. The film follows musician Sigridur Nielsdottir who started composing her first songs in the middle of her living room at the age of seventy; in the course of eight years captured by the documentary, she became a cult personality of Iceland’s young generation.

A strong connection with art is also present in the two films made by the creative duo of Markus Thor Andresson and Ragnheidur Gestsdottir exploring Iceland’s art scene. Over the period of two years, STEYPA follows seven young artists seeking their place in the culturally expanding Reykjavík as well as in the broader society. The latter film, TIME AND TIME AND AGAIN, is dedicated to the world-renowned Icelandic conceptual artist Hreinn Fridfinnsson.

Keep your eyes wide open and get inspired by the unique world of wild nature and social ideals. Travel through the landscape of Icelandic documentary from June 8 to 21 for free!

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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