“Jónsi wanted to show the other side of Iceland, not the delusional version we’ve seen in the ‘Inspired by Iceland’ campaigns. The flip-side of the coin—arguably the more real version of our country,” director Frosti Jón Runólfsson (Frosti Gringo) explains of the original concept behind their award-winning video “Sumarið sem aldrei kom”. The panel agreed with the vision, calling the result a living, moving tribute to Iceland in all its forms.
Joyful & melancholic
The video, a nitty-gritty and undramatised documentation of this county featuring everyone from swimmers to gymnasts to more downtrodden members of the city, is joyful and melancholic in equal measure. “It is Iceland and it isn’t. It’s not landscapes and frozen tundras, it’s likely and unlikely characters that everyone has seen before at one time in their life,” one panel member praised. In the end, it was close to a unanimous win for Frosti and Jónsi.
“Our collaboration was perfect. As everyone knows, Jónsi is a genius and he knows exactly what he wants so this was all very clear from the get-go,” Frosti explains. “Jónsi and I were on the same page and I had his total trust the whole way through. Not even an editing note! I really respect his process and with him having such a big following, it came as a surprise to me how easy going he was about it all. All love and making beautiful art.”
The guerilla-style shoot sent Frosti all around the city, looking for gems in the wild. “After I heard the song, my head almost blew up thinking about the potential video I could make. My main thought was just ‘don’t fuck this up,'” he says. “Midway through shooting the video I sat back down, looked at some footage and listened to the song, very loud and was filled with such emotion I can’t even describe it. That´s when I knew this would be a milestone for me creatively,” he explains. The panel felt similarly, calling the result both heartbreakingly nostalgic and also undeniably modern. For Icelanders, it’s an emotional video and one that resonated.
A moving tribute
“It was really touching to see the reactions. Both for me personally and for the people I had asked to expose their vulnerabilities and their personal moments in this video. I’m glad that their voices were heard and appreciated,” Frosti concludes. “Sadly one of the characters from the video passed away while I was editing. He had been living hard for too many years. After the video came out, the mother of his children actually contacted me and thanked me for the video, which is the most beautiful review yet.”
You can read about all of the winners of the 2021 Grapevine Music Awards here.
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