From Iceland — Screaming Masterpiece?

Screaming Masterpiece?

Published October 16, 2010

Rex Beckett

After a decade’s worth of editions of the Iceland Airwaves festival, the event has finally been captured for the big screen. The documentary Where’s The Snow?! directed by Bowen Staines and Gunnar B. Guðbjörnsson was shot on the spur of the moment over Airwaves 2009, and after a year of work it premiered as part of the Reykjavík International Film Festival late last month.
The whole project came about rather quickly when Bowen and Gunnar, old acquaintances from the days of MySpace (remember…), got together over coffee a week before last year’s festival. “He’d wanted to do something on it for a long time and so had I,” Bowen tells us, “not just an overview, but a really in-depth look at it. We wrote a brief outline and backbone for it, shot it over two days and we’ve spent the last year editing it.” The film features some widely recognised names in Icelandic music, such as Ólafur Arnalds, Hjaltalín, Agent Fresco, Mammút and Páll Óskar. It is packed with loads of interviews, beautiful shots of the city and the country. And lots and lots of partying.
The film’s premiere at Iðnó was a party and a project of its own. Agent Fresco and Mammút—both featured prominently in the film—opened up the night and the whole thing was filmed for posterity. “We filmed the whole thing for gogoyoko and RIFF as an example of what they can do for future premieres,” says Bowen. The film will also have its own screening event during this year’s Airwaves on October 16.
Their plans don’t stop just there though. They have more filming lined up during the festival and new prospects on the horizon. “I’ve been talking a lot with the guys in Rökkurró to do some kind of audio-visual presentation for them,” he goes on. “Their manager got in touch with me saying they are in major need of some visuals, so we’re going to maybe shoot half an episode of Don’t Panic TV [Bowen’s main documentary project] on them and maybe half on For A Minor Reflection.”
Also in the works are plans for a coffee table book that they intend to publish by the end of the year. “I’m also talking to a guy from Saga Films who just finished a big long documentary on the history of Airwaves,” Bowen reveals to us. “Ours was just to cover this one specific year, but he’s gotten stock footage from every single festival since it started. He has footage of GusGus playing in the airplane hangar in ’99.”
Needless to say, Bowen is very excited for the release of their film and everything they have on the horizon. “Everyone’s been collaborating these last few months and everything is coming together. This October is going to be super fun.”
Where Is The Snow? is screened today, Saturday 18:15 at Cinema No2.

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