Published September 2, 2011
Kvikmyndaskóli Íslands (The Icelandic Film School) is in trouble. It has through the years been run with a financial contribution from the Icelandic state along with the rather hefty school fees it charges its students. The school has repeatedly sought greater contributions from the state, but has been declined repeatedly with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture citing Iceland’s current financial situation and the resulting cutbacks to every educational institution. The school’s rector is furious and claims the school is in no position to operate without further state funding. School is already in session, but due to these complications all courses have been delayed until November at least.
The school has been getting a lot of attention lately because of its media wrestling match with the Minister of Education. And now the school’s students are protesting by locking themselves in the ministry’s lobby. I’m not picking sides because I honestly haven’t been paying much attention to the whole thing. I am however a former pupil there, and it is my honest opinion that closing down the school would be a horrible idea.
Filmmaking in Iceland is a fragile little profession. Icelanders have only been making films regularly since the early 1980s, and one could argue that the training wheels aren’t ready to come off yet. It can be discouraging if your only option for education is abroad. Moving to another country is not an option for everybody, but Kvikmyndaskólinn is.
Random loudmouths often say that if you really want to learn filmmaking, your only choice is studying abroad. That the Icelandic school isn’t good enough, and that it doesn’t have enough credibility when it comes to applying for a job.
Well, less than fifteen years ago, Kvikmyndaskólinn was just a short seminar that nobody really cared about. Today it’s a real school. It’s an actual place where you can go and learn to make films. Films on par with ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ if that’s your thing. And if the school keeps on growing at its current speed, it might very well be one of the world’s finest film schools in ten to twenty years. Who knows.
My two years studying at Kvikmyndaskólinn were wonderful and I learned a lot. I don’t know how good they look on my CV, but I do know that I now know how to make a film. Seriously. Do you have 50 million krónur? Give it to me and I’ll make you a film. And it will be the best film you ever saw.