Last summer, Kormakur shot a film based on the work (not a filmed play but a feature on location), which is being edited now. Simultaneous to that film's premiere, he will stage a theatrical version of Ivanov at The National Theatre of Iceland, likely around Christmas 2007. The film will then travel, and the play could also travel to other countries.
Kormakur said he was interested in working simultaneously in film and theatre - the play rehearsals are happening while the film is being edited, and the same cast is recruited for both works, although the productions may have different stories or structures. The basic outline of Ivanov is about a rural doctor who struggles with a moral crisis while caring for his sick wife.
'After Jar City I wanted to do something totally different, and take more risks,' Kormakur said. 'I started out as a theatre director and then moved to be a film director, so the dream was to combine the two halves of my professional life. The two things are pushing and pulling each other into different directions.'
Kormakur, who previously directed 101 Reykjavik, The Sea and A Little Trip To Heaven, was discussing his work at the fourth Reykjavik International Film Festival (Sept 27-Oct 7), where he serves on the programming committee.
Other notable works in progress from the Icelandic Film Centre were unveiled, including Oskar Jonasson's third featre, REYKJAVIK-ROTTERDAM, which started shooting on location in Reykjavik on Sept 29 for five weeks and will move to a Rotterdam shoot in early 2008. Kormakur, who started his career as an actor, takes the lead role as a sailor who takes one last job as an alcohol smuggler. Kormakur is also producing the project with Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. That project is an Iceland-Netherlands co-production with Rotterdam Films.
Also, Valdis Oskarsdottir - known as an editor of films including Festen, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Finding Forrester - is halfway through the editing process for her directorial debut feature, Country Wedding. The partially improvised project, about a family road trip for a wedding, was shot locally in just seven days.
Icelandic documentaries in the works include the $800,000 Flight Of the Falcon by Thorkell Hardarson and Orn Marino Arnarson, which is still shooting for a early 2008 delivery. That film looks at obsessive personalities in the world of falconry.
Also, Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson and Ari Alexander Ergis Magnusson, who worked on international success Screaming Masterpiece, are putting the finishing touches on the $700,000 At The Edge Of The World, a harrowing look at the child abuse at a remote government home for boys. That project is particularly topical, as the Icelandic government continues to investigate the allegations.
Also, Oscar-nominated director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson is two-thirds finished with the shoot for Sunman (working title), his documentary about families affected by autism. Fridriksson has already shot more than 350 hours of footage and hopes the project will evolve into two versions: a feature-length theatrical documentary and a TV miniseries. Frontier Filmworks is producing. 'The subject is fascinating to me, you don't get autism like you get cancer or AIDS as an adult,' Fridriksson said. 'I hope this film will be a spokesman for these kids.'
Other projects at various stages of production include family film No Network by Ari Kristinsson from Taka Film; small-town drama Small Mountain from Passport Pictures and UK-based Blue Dolphin Films; Back Soon, Solveig Anspach's comedy about a drug dealing single mother (a France-Iceland co-production between Zik Zak and Ex Nihilo); and two from director Olaf de Fleur Johannesson: $1m debut feature The Higher Force, a comedy (starring Michael Imperioli) about a debt collector who pretends to befriend a crimelord; and drama The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela, which includes some documentary elements about the life of Philipino transsexuals.
The Icelandic Film Centre, which is independent from the country's Ministry of Culture, has three separate funds for features; shorts and documentaries; and TV fiction. The government ministers boosted the funds available for film in November 2006 with slight increases planned each year until 2010. The feature film fund offers $4.2m (Euros 3m) this year, the shorts/docs fund $1.4m (Euros 1m) and the TV fund $700,000 ($500,000).
The Icelandic government also has tried to entice more foreign productions to shoot there, boosting its former 12% tax rebate to 14%.
The head of the Icelandic Film Centre, Laufey Gudjonsdottir, also noted that private investment in films has grown in Iceland in the last two to three years.
'The Icelandic film industry has grown very fast,' Gudjonsdottir noted. 'It got off to a tough start in the early 80s but since new regulation in 2003, the framework is much more mature.'