TriBeCa Film Festival Interview
1. What was it like going from your native Iceland to France as a young boy, what was it like growing up in Marseille? Then you return home when you're 20, with Reykjavik being labeled "the nightlife capital of the north" i'm curious if you have any fun stories (especially with your other wild jobs - bartending most have been a job filled with wild stories)? How are the film scenes similar or different between Iceland and France? Do you feel your style is more French or more Icelandic?
-It's a really fine thing to have two Hometowns, other than being Harbors, they have got nothing in common, culturally or climatically. Marseille has got the Reputation of being a crime riddled city, but it is actually in Reykjavik (Mostly during my bar tending years) that I've really seen things go out of control. I had quite an experience picking up a big chunk of human ear, putting it on Ice and then chasing the "cannibal" down the street, just to tell one story, (not really fun, but memorable.)
I don't think my style has any Nationality though. My writing revolves a lot around deconstructing somewhat heavy concepts and then trying to make that entertaining, that might be a French thing.
2. How did you first break into the film industry? It sounds like you've done most of every type of job you can do on a TV and Film set, was there a particular set that made you really want to direct films eventually?
-I've been wanting to be a professional filmmaker since I was a child, I had done some small P.A things in France but pretty much on the very day I moved in to Iceland I got offered a really nice job digging holes and planting palm trees for the Art Direction department of "Flags of our fathers" that was shot in Iceland to mimic the volcanic beaches of iwo Jima.(Half the country was working on that, so it wasn't hard getting in) from there I spotted the local people that were in charge, and it's a very small country so I got some other Jobs... You might grow from being a clapper loader into a focus puller into a Cinematographer. But If you want to be a writer director you kinda have to write and direct a film and if nobody is going to produce it, you have to produce it yourself.
3. What films or filmmakers have you looked to for inspiration?
-For Gravity, The most obvious one is Encounters of the third kind, I never had it in mind when I was writing and shooting, but When I re watched it the other day I realized how much I had unconsciously taken from that film.
My cinematographer and I watched a Japanese film I love: the taste of tea which had the look and atmosphere I was going for, but making it slightly darker.
And then in the concept there is Tarkovski's Stalker and how through dialogue and pacing you can grow into an incredible epic of tremendous scope.
Angry Dancer Questions:
1. Where does your production company name come from? Love the logo of the Dancer who did that? Tell us a bit about the work you Snorri and Haraldur are trying to showcase and film?
-Snorri came up with the name, I think it has to do with some dialogue in my film mentioning a song called tiny dancer. We had been driving around playing the word game until we settled on Angry Dancer, that was the only one we agreed on. The logo was fun we just took turns doing an angry dance wearing black clothes in front of a white wall, shot it with the macbook webcam and then rotoscoped it in After Effects, It's Snorri again in the logo.
-Snorri just made a very beautiful and Eerie short called Tvöföld Tilvera (Double existence) it has only had it's premiere yet at a local Festival but it'll more than likely be in many places on the circuit this year.
-I am very involved in Nuno, as the co-writer and active producer. But on set and in the editing room Haraldur is in total control, It's going to be a long short film, which makes it a hard sell, but what I think we have in our hands is quite amazing. At least it will be the most unIcelandic Icelandic Film ever.
2. The four short films you all have done seem to have a simple structure. Young Man gets into crazy ass situations (ok a little basic - but the premises of your shorts all seem to have that Young Man vs something element to them), is that intended?
I Hadn't noticed that, but now I think I'll have to break the pattern and make a film about a group of Old women.
3. What is up next for you all at Angry Dancer?
-Keeping Gravity and Double existence on the circuit.
I am about to direct a few music video and am right now in New York at the Tribeca fest trying to find funding or co production deals for future secret projects of mine.
1. Where did this crazy idea come from? How much did your script change during the filming process and how close or far from the original script is the short film?
-(I'll copy paste my directors note it pretty much answers this.)
The starting point to Þyngdarafl was when I wrote this image down on a post-it note: "thee people are on top of a building, waiting for the end of the world, one of them is in a wheelchair". It wasn't a groundbreaking idea, but it felt powerful enough to make me feel that I had the first ingredient of a story that seemed intimate and minimalistic but had the potential to grow epic in scope through dialogue and pacing; Tarkofsky's "Stalker" is a direct influence.
I wanted to tell a Sci-Fi story that could happen today, where the science and the fiction doesn't surround the characters but comes from them.
In the writing process, the "End of the World" theme mutated and the dark humor angle I had chosen to start with changed into some sort of "sweet drama" as I let the characters, then the actors drive and drag the story and each other - and potentially the viewer too - into different realities.
During rehearsals the actors sometimes came up with better or new lines that I rewrote into the screenplay. I love my stories but I'm not in love with my words, I just need to get the scene to go from A to B and get the gut feeling that it works, so if the Actors alter or add something and it works for me, I'll keep it.
2. Where did you shoot and how much footage did you and Omar Jabali gather? Just from the trailer the landscape of location looks utterly beautiful and yet still harsh weather conditions. How was the comfort of the shoot with weather and the "look" you wanted to capture? How long was your edit and how much footage did you keep out of the short, if any?
We shot in two locations over two days, We had a well connected person make a deal with the gods so we didn't get a drop of rain or any annoying wind during the whole of the shoot, But as soon as we wrapped a Crazy Storm broke out.
3. What was the casting process of your actors like?
I wrote Eva's part for my friend Magnea, with whom we had to create the character, because she's nothing like that in eral life. She then helped me find an Actor to play Einar, That's how the very talented Magnus Gudmundson came in. And I had just worked on a set with Damon and was very impressed by his professionalism and energy(always ready, always in character) and figured that even if he's not necessarily the right type I had in mind for Atli, we only had two days to shoot the whole thing and he would be really good at keeping the pace, he turned out to be really good at Acting too.
Right now in New York, People keep asking me who this guy is.
4. What festivals did you apply to? What was it like when Tribeca contacted you to let you know you're in the festival? How has Tribeca treated you so far?
Plenty of festivals, sometimes you get in, sometimes you don't
there is a list on our website(of the ones we got into): www.angrydancer.com
Getting selected to Tribeca really made my day, for many days, and its treating me amazingly.
5. Where does Gravity go from here?
We're still looking for a good distribution deal. So It'll be on the circuit some more, might end up on some Tv Channels short film programing. And when All that's over, If I haven't sold away the rights, I'll put it online in it's entierty.
Original interview at pearlsnapdiscount.wordpress.com.