When I tried to catch up with him I realised he was stationed in Denmark so a phone call would have to do. When a female-ish voice answered me, my first thought was that he had to be an extremely tender man. But when I began pursuing the softy for some info on the film, I realised that my interlocutor wasn’t Rúnar at all, but his wife. She elaborated that he often forgot his phone at home and said she inevitably had to deliver the vital gadget to him, and it would be wise for me to try again in about a half an hour. I counted the minutes and finally after thirty minutes I called again, and the compliant Mrs. was right after all – the voice that answered me this time was slightly more masculine. When Runar realised the nature of the phone call he moved to a more secluded area and began with telling me a little about the plot in 2 Birds.
”2 Birds is actually a small love story, we follow Óli for 12 hours who lives in a small village out in the country in Iceland. In these 12 hours he reaches a turning point in his life, he actually transforms from being a boy into being a man, and I think we all know what that means. The atmosphere is very realistic, at least it presents the atmosphere I experienced while growing up in similar village, where the main activities consist of hanging outside a kiosk and… well that basically covers it. The story is to a certain extent based on my own experiences, as are all my films. When you know the circumstances and the conflicts your characters are going through it’s always more real, there’s more heart in it. This film is an independent sequel to my previous short film “The Last Farm”, but both of them are part of a trilogy on love yet to be finalised.”
By listening to his description I soon realised these stories he has produced aren’t random directing projects, but dear stories interrelated with his own life, and it might be weird getting all this great feedback, i.e. nominations and awards, for your own personal experiences. So I continued to ask him how this has affected him and whether everyone has been as pleased with his success, his schoolfellows and such?
”To me, all this attainment has been great! I’m basically creating films about my own life and if people are enjoying it, it’s of course fantastic. But once you get a slight taste of success you realise not only handball fans are competitive, a lot of people congratulate me but others don’t. We have this thing here in Denmark, kind of a law of equals, but the first clause in it is that you should never repute yourself greater than others – modesty is a virtue. But in fact it isn’t merely lordliness and conceit that develops jealousy and envy, and in class nowadays I have received a lot of compliments but there is also a bunch of people who have glowered at me.”
It is in some way understandable that some people wish they had received the same fame as Rúnar, considering that they are his equals of some sort, but one must wonder what it is that distinguishes Rúnar from the others. So I ask, what is it that makes you excel? What makes you so special?
”It is my belief that once you get to the bottom of things it is considerably easy to narrate a good story if you are honest. If you have personal material in your hands that you cherish it always gets through, technical shortcomings don’t matter a bit. If there’s heart in it, it’s easy to forgive the imperfections. And that has always been the centre in my filmmaking, I have never looked at technical excellence with stars in my eyes; I just want true, realistic feelings.”
These intonations seem to have gotten Rúnar far, but how far is he hoping to get? What is on your upcoming agenda?
”My 2 Birds have just begun to fly and have the whole world ahead of them. We have been invited to loads of festivals and we are also discussing distributing opportunities with several distributing companies. All in all I’d give them about two years to fly. Other than that I have my final assignment at school which I plan to start shooting in next months, but I keep all my school assignments separate from my personal ones, so you probably won’t ever see them. I have also been working on my first feature film script and my first foray into that world will hopefully be launched in less than two years. Finally I have my trilogy finale, which I hope to premier at least before my feature film.”
Rúnar obviously has a lot of projects on his hands, but it must arouse some interest that he’s cooking up a feature film, what can be expected?
”Well, it’s similar to my other stuff, based on me in some way, has a lot of heart in it and portrays characters at crossroads. I find characters on some turning points of their lives the most exciting human ordeals to film.”
And these words seem appropriate final words, and we’ll just hope people at some turning points of their lives make as good interlocutors as they are film protagonists