From Iceland — Making Little Guys Accessible In A Small Country

Making Little Guys Accessible In A Small Country

Published February 8, 2010

Kino Klúbbur’s Rebecca Moran has a mission

Making Little Guys Accessible In A Small Country
Haukur S. Magnússon
Photo by
Julia Staples

Kino Klúbbur’s Rebecca Moran has a mission

Icelanders like to brag about per capita records. Most published books in the world, most coffee consumed, highest suicide rates, rah rah rah… Icelanders probably watch more movies per capita than most nations out there, too, but they still have a surprisingly limited film culture. Our movie theatres mainly like to screen regurgitated Hollywood pap (you’ll often find the same Rob Schneider abortion screening simultaneously at four of Reykjavík’s six theatres SIMULTANEOUSLY), and there is not one specialized cinéphile theatre operating.
Still, there is hope, and it is embodied in the likes of artist/filmmaking enthusiast Rebecca Moran, who screens obscure gems and lesser-known masterpieces at the nomadic Kino Klúbbur film club every two weeks. Since 2009, Rebecca has been introducing Reykjavík’s denizens to documentaries, animated films, personal narrative and experimental films, her only motive: “To make these little guys accessible, because they are the ones that give film a fresh voice.”

“It’s technically called a microcinema,” she says of Kino Klúbbur, “which is basically a showcase for small gauge filmmakers who operate similar to a one-man band. They are THE makers of the film, from concept, to shooting and editing. The films are created with a limited budget, occasionally a small crew, and generally shot on either Super 8, 16mm, or video.
It’s miles away from industry and nearly impossible for an individual to get their hands or eyes on this type of film. Mostly because they are often distributed by the filmmakers themselves or specific companies (Canyon Cinema or Light Cone to name a few). That’s where Kino Klúbbur comes in…”

Have you run similar clubs before?
I spent a lot of time in the experimental film department during my studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, and have been immersed in that scene since the late nineties. After moving to Holland, I was invited to program monthly screenings at WORM, an experimental venue for film and music in Rotterdam. Then I moved to Iceland, followed by a few years of silence until I finally rolled up my sleeves and created Kino Klúbbur.

You’ve been showing at Bakkus pretty regularly this winter, but you’ve also been known to screen in different venues. Is there a preferred Reykjavík venue where you like to screen films, or do they each have an atmosphere and culture?
Kino Klúbbur prefers to remain homeless, and benefit from the different atmosphere of each location, not to mention the varying mailing lists. Bakkus is the perfect space for screening documentaries and films with a beer in hand, not to mention a great projection setup and proper sound. Most recently added is the Reykjavik Art Museum, who generously offered their screening room during the hip late night Thursdays. It is ideal for films that need a bit more concentration to delve in deep and sip a coffee in between. My all time favourite venue on this entire island is the Volcano Museum. A Red painted building, an intimate screening room, and loads of 16mm wisdom. Kino Klúbbur hopes to incorporate it off hours in the upcoming summer months.

Is there a running theme or thread in what’s been on offer at KK, or is it just an assortment of good stuff?
I sat down one day, picked out a few of my favourite filmmakers that I’ve encountered in the last ten years, and sent out emails. So the connecting thread at the moment is my own nomadic history, and sheer luck in meeting many quirky filmmakers along the way. Over the years, they have all won some type of award, or screened in notable venues and museums, but Kino Klúbbur loves them for the fact they never gave up at honing their craft.

What do you think of the local film culture? Where does it stand in comparison to other places you know?
It’s an impressively busy and productive film industry here. I have always held complete respect for Icelandic film, and the perseverance of local filmmakers. Kino Klúbbur hopes to entertain and inspire the local scene with another perspective, another way of doing things.

What does the future hold for Kínó Klúbbur? What are some of your plans for the next year or so?
Kino Klúbbur plans to forge ahead with monthly screenings.  In addition, to introduce film workshops in the realm of “image-making”. That is basic 16mm film techniques; shooting, editing, hand processing and manipulations of the film itself. Simultaneously providing a venue for the works created. So far, the workshop has generated a lot of interest, and a few dedicated filmmaker friends are helping out to make it a reality… but it’s a long road ahead to allocate the funding.  What could be better in a recession, filmmakers getting their hands right down in it, and coming up with unique reels of film? It is the essence of what Kino Klúbbur is all about.

We’re pretty much lacking an underground/alt. cinema, aren’t we? I mean, Regnboginn could be so great if they were run and organised a little bit differently…
Honestly, I blame Hollywood film for spreading so much disease and so far. Except when one is really in the mood for 3d or brain-dead entertainment, which happens too. Besides that, Green Light is doing a fine job to bring in the bigger budget independent films. I tip my cowboy hat off to them.

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