From Iceland — Documentary Lovers Flock To The West For Skjaldborg

Documentary Lovers Flock To The West For Skjaldborg

Published May 23, 2023

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Skjaldborg, Iceland’s famous documentary film festival, returns to Patreksfjörður May 26 to 29. Over the course of the festival weekend, the local cinema will host film premieres, a documentary competition, a parade, a limbo competition and a fish stew feast.

The festival’s programme is diverse, offering documentary film screenings and presentations of works in progress. The Icelandic Film Archive will showcase gems from its collection and Friðgeir Einarsson will present the lecture piece

This year, the festival’s honorary guests are Corinne van Egeraat and Petr Lom, documentary filmmakers and producers of ZINDOC. The pair focuses on human rights. Their film Myanmar Diaries (2022) has won numerous awards.

This time around, The Grapevine is also heading west for the festival. Here are a few movies we can’t wait to watch:

Hlemmur Mathöll (Oli Hjörtur Ólafsson)

The film follows the lives of people inside and outside the Hlemmur food hall.

Bokashi (Tumi Bjartur Valdimarsson)

A story behind the company Melta, which is working on a pilot project for organic waste management in Hella. The film is a work in progress.

Yoga United – My Search For Ways Out Of Burnout (Magnea Björk Valdimarsdóttir)

The film is a work in progress and includes interviews with individuals who have experienced burnout in various countries, from the Icelandic mountains, Masca in Barcelona, and a bohemian village in Greece.

Super Soldier (Arna Tryggvadóttir)

Arna Tryggvadóttir looks back at her experiences as a chronically ill child and reflects on the long-term impact on her life.

For The Love Of Cod (Rut Sigurðardóttir)

In an attempt to pay off their debt, a young couple embarks on a journey into the fishing industry, following in the footsteps of their ancestors.

Shouldn’t You Just Throw It Away? (Ragnheiður Maisól Sturludóttir)

One weekend, a couple decides to face their own messy pasts and tackle the insurmountable — their storage unit.

Where Does This End? (Valborg Salóme Ingólfsdóttir)

Flóki, 14, stands out with his remarkable height of nearly 2 meters, making him the tallest student in school, surpassing both peers and staff. He continues to grow. Where does this end?

Konni (Þorbjörg Jónsdóttir and Lee Lynch)

Konni is the last child to live in the island of Grímsey. The local school was closed a few years ago.

The Home Game (Smári Gunnarsson and Logi Sigursveinsson)

A man attempts to fulfill his father’s dream — to gather the local team to play a long-awaited inaugural match on a football field that the father had built on Hellissandi 25 years ago.

Soviet Barbara (Gaukur Úlfarsson)

Ragnar Kjartansson’s exhibition is interrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Skjaldborg festival shows documentaries that the public would rarely see otherwise. It might be a long drive from Reykjavík but it’s worth it. You can combine the trip to Skjaldborg with visiting other places in the Westfjords. See our guide to sandy beaches in the area here.

All documentary screenings at the Skjaldborg cinema are free. By purchasing a festival pass, you’ll get access to fish stew tastings, afterparties and the pool — and, most importantly, you support this amazing annual initiative.

Tickets are available via

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