Director Rúnar Rúnarsson has been an active member of the local film industry since secondary school, when he started his career as an independent filmmaker by making a short-film with his friend, Grímur Hákonarson. After taking the first step, he has gone on to direct several films and worked as an assistant for Icelandic directors in films such as Thicker Than Water (2006) and A Man Like Me (2002). His most acclaimed projects include the documentary Leitin að Rajeev (2002) and the short-film The Last Farm (2004), telling the tale of an old man living in an isolated countryside farm. Both films received great critical reviews and The Last Farm was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 and won numerous well-earned awards at festivals around the world. Today, Rúnar is considered one of the more promising young directors in Iceland.
“[The Oscar nomination] of course helped my career a lot. I have always been full of myself but at that point I finally got my due,” he says. At the moment Rúnar is studying filmmaking in Copenhagen. “I just finished my second year at the National Film School of Denmark. It is a tough four-year programme but the school takes really good care of its students and we get all the finance we need to make our movies.” He’s spending his summer vacation in Iceland and plans on using the time to film his latest short-film, Two Birds, which he describes as a teenage film about a Friday binge with a sweet-and-sour touch. The film will be partly funded by the Film Centre of Iceland. “The film is produced by Zik Zak Filmworks and is in pre-production at the moment. For the last couple of days I have been meeting with actors and the schedule is to start shooting in August.”
So far, Rúnar has mostly been focusing on making short-films but upcoming projects include two feature films he is developing. “These are films about ordinary people. In my opinion, we are all interesting in one way or another. We all have a story to tell; we have experienced some catastrophes as well as happy times in our lives and found ourselves in a crisis when we need to make an important decision that will have some consequences” he explains. “The challenge is to tell these stories in an interesting way,” he adds.
The audience will have to wait a bit to see his first feature on the big screen as Rúnar has two years left in school. “At first I plan to finish my studies and take a vacation for six months or so. Perhaps take my family to the Caribbean or Aruba and get some tan, but I will probably start filming after three years. When asked if he has a long-term goal, he says: “I just want to continue telling my stories and become better at it. Hopefully people will enjoy it.”
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