EXCLUSIVE: Runar Runarsson, the director of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight 2011 selection Volcano, will start shooting his second feature in Iceland on July 14.
The new film, Sparrows, will shoot for six weeks — briefly in Reykjavik and then primarily around Flateyri, Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík in the west fjords of Iceland.
The story follows a 16-year-old Icelandic boy, Ari, who lives with his mother in Reykjavik. She has to move to Africa for a new job, sending him back to the small town of his youth. There he finds his old friend suddenly a young woman with a tricky romantic relationship; and his father is a victim of the financial crisis. “Ari becomes an adult because he has this weight on his shoulders,” says producer Mikkel Jersin of Copenhagen and Iceland based Nimbus Film. “He is being confronted to reinvent himself.”
Runarsson tells Screen, “For some reason, I have this urge to make films about myself and the people I know and love. It is crucial for me to work within a frame that I personally know something about. To combine first and second hand experiences as a foundation for the story. That real life core I then alter and mix with fiction. The Westfjords and their beautiful surroundings and worn towns that are fighting for survival, even before the financial crisis, is a magical and thematically poignant place to portray a story of change. A place I consider my second home.”
Jersin adds: “It’s a coming of age story intended mainly for adults not for kids. Runar likes to tell stories about crossroads in life.”
Ingvar Sigurdsson (Jar City) plays the father and the boy and girl are played by Atli Óskar Fjalarsson and Rakel Björk Björnsdóttir.
Nimbus’ main outpost in Denmark is producing along with the newly created Nimbus Iceland. Lilja Ósk Snorradóttir is co-producing on behalf of Iceland’s Pegasus Pictures (Game of Thrones) and Igor Nola is co-producing for Croatia’s MP Film.
Sparrows, budgeted at about €1.5m, has backing from The Icelandic Film Centre, The Danish Film Institute’s Feature Film Consultancy Scheme and Nordisk Film & TV Fond
The film will shoot on Super 16mm; Sofia Olsson, who also shot Volcano as well as Runarsson’s Cannes selected short 2 Birds, will serve as DoP. Force Majeure’s Jacob Schulsinger will edit. Sparrows is beign readied for delivery in early 2015 and would be a good potential fit for Cannes since Runarsson’s Volcano premiered there.
A sales company will be confirmed soon.