As 2009 drew to a close, I asked many of Iceland’s leading filmmakers a number of questions about the local film industry as well as their own work. This was for a feature focusing on Icelandic film talent that ran in UK music magazine Clash that you can read online right here.
Next up is BAFTA winning editor Valdís Óskarsdóttir, ahead of the release of her second directorial film King’s Road (aka Kongavegur). More info on Valdís can be found on her official site. Stills from the film, produced by Mystery Island, as well as the trailer follow below.
A lot of people working in the Icelandic film industry seem to focus on work in Iceland itself, but you’re perhaps best known as an editor on films produced in America. What have been the main benefits from your career path?
Working with lot of directors and learning from them. Studying acting, story telling and structure.
Despite your success as an editor, you returned to Iceland for your first film as a director. What were the reasons behind that?
I have lived in Iceland since 2002 and between jobs I always went back home and home was and is Iceland. So it came natural to make my first film in Iceland and in Icelandic.
There seems to be a lot of interest in your upcoming film Kongavegur, in particular the contribution of Daniel Bruhl. What more can you tell us about the film?
Without giving away too much I can tell you that the Kongavegur is about fucked up people in a fucked up place. Despite the royal name Kongavegur – King’s Road in English, Kongavegur is a tiny gravel road in a trailer park. The story is about three families that ends up at the same place and their troubled past is the reason why they are staying at this trailer park. The story takes place over five days and during that time we learn how they got there and why and at the end all of them have to make up their minds and make decisions if to go on with their lives as it is or take action.
Can Icelandic film offer something new to an international audience? What are the nation’s main strengths and weaknesses in filmmaking?
A good story can always offer something new to an international audience and it makes no difference where it comes from. The strength of Icelandic filmmaking is imagination, creativity, professionalism, fearlessness, spontaneous thinking and acting, incessant dynamism, passion for filmmaking and nothing can stop you. Perhaps the weakness is also the above mentioned, plus the smallness of the film industry that leads to self-interest, factionalism, precipitance and lack of solidarity.
And the trailer with English subtitles: