Archives: May 2012

Klapp

We dropped by Klapp office, a film production organization with the objective of contributing to the Icelandic film scene, the other day. Klapp produces and co- produces films and projects of audio-visual kind, the group’s manifesto notes that its founders want to create a platform for talents in the film community by hosting creative workshops and cultivating an atmosphere of ambition and co-operation. Filmmakers Arnar Sigurðsson, Heimir Freyr Hlöðversson and Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir met with us for coffee and to chat about their operation.

How did this project come about, and where did you meet?

Arnar: Well, me and Heimir met in Madrid I even played in some of his short films, at the time he was studying filmmaking. Ragnhildur and I have known each other from the beginning of time, and they met through me. We decided on Klapp actually in a café here in Reykjavík when we were discussing the need for this kind of a film community organization. Built on our experience on doing things, we wanted to form a scene for enthusiastic and passionate filmmakers, an environment where you are not judged only on how long your CV is.

Ragnhildur: We decided right away, that we wanted to run this on equality based ground, so people would not be hesitant to approach us. We want to welcome all that have ambitious heart for filmmaking.

When did you start out, and how many of you are participating in this project?

Arnar: We have been running this project for two years; the three of us are the founders of Klapp, and are working on the project all year round. Other participants are around thirty-forty people that have been involved in one of the projects, some only once but others long-term, which we think is great.

Heimir: Sometimes we offer workshops or script meetings, and then more people are involved, we are always trying to develop Klapp to a more concrete form.

Ragnhildur: Well, we have done projects that are very concrete and organized. For example the Guerrilla film campaign, were we had workshops for filmmakers under 35. We assisted them in the film production, provided them with scripts and acting workshops and so forth. This workshop was also a great platform for people to form connections or network, both amongst the group and with other filmmakers. We offered various kinds of activities for those who participated in the project, script workshops, acting workshop and a technical weekends where we covered a lot of stuff, for example lights, the camera, sound etc. so they could experiment with these things afterwards also. This was actually our first large project at Klapp, and we had ten young filmmakers working on their films, which were screened in Bíó Paradís at the end of the project. Many of them have since then, been very active in creating films.

Arnar: It is not about us teaching filmmaking, it’s more about creating this environment for people to learn from each other, with support from us. What can I tell you, there is a group of young filmmakers working on an application now on a very ambitious film project, and they all met originally in Klapp. Their group is a Klapp offspring actually, and we will be their sponsors in this upcoming project. This is an example that we hope to be the future for many that participate in Klapp, that there will be groups like this forming, and that they will develop in some kind of scenes.

What about the daily life at Klapp, how does it work?

Arnar: Well, for example, we decided to lend our equipment to some guys that were shooting a short film last summer. They were so grateful, that they called us up afterwards and wanted to lend us tracks, which we could use in a project that another guy that has been around Knapp needed at one point in his film production. He was so happy, that he decided to build a “dolly” for the tracks for us to use in the organization. This story sums up, what Klapp is really all about.

We are trying to create a place for collaboration and consensus for filmmakers in Iceland. How can I explain our organization, more clearly … we are not a high-end film production company where things are carved in to stone, but we are not a private group of people that know each other, doing exclusive projects. We are trying to take elements from both worlds, we want to be very ambitious and professional but also focused on the consensus atmosphere.

We help people that have passion for filmmaking and we are always willing to meet new people and discuss their projects. The Klapp community is also building slowly but surely, and that is a very rewarding for us to experience.

What can you tell me about the script workshops?

Arnar: We have been hosting all kinds of workshops, including script workshops. We had a talented guy the other day to host a workshop in frame composition, where people could discuss and look at different frame styles and methods in film making. So the community is growing because of those workshops.

Ragnhildur: The people that have participated in Klapp are serious about what they want to do, and this is the thing about filmmaking in general, you can’t do it all on your own. Its not just about the equipment, for example the art of making a good script, it takes a lot of time and thought, which is necessary to get feedback on. It´s also important to go on set and work with people that know and understand your idea, at least a little bit, it’s a whole other deal than just to call somebody the same day and ask for help. That’s the whole idea about Klapp, we want to create this community of people that can work together in filmmaking.

So, is this community only for people that want to make films or is it also for people in other artistic fields?

Arnar: I think Klapp is perfect for people that are doing independent projects, or are working in other artistic fields, where they don’t have the opportunity to access filmmaking per se. The form is very open and we do not have opinions on the subjects or anything like that. This medium is about people working together so Klapp is a good place to start.

Heimir: Yes, it is very important for the process of for example script making. I think a good story, or a good script is always the most important thing. The artistic development and communication between people is something that you can always evolve further as a filmmaker.

How do you finance the organization, how do you run Klapp?

Arnar: It would be great if we could apply for more grants and such, but that takes time. This is not our main profession, to be working full time on organizing Klapp, but we enjoy it very much. We celebrate if the projects get financed in any way, or if people get paid for what they are doing. We of course want to take this to a higher level, but this is an art form and people are usually involved in filmmaking because of passion. The dream is actually to have ongoing workshops all year round, which of course would be great in the future. We own all the equipment, we look at it as an investment in Klapp and we trust the people that are working with us on projects to respect that investment. People are very willing to participate in this ideology, sometimes this is the other way around, and they lend others in Klapp things.

Ragnhildur: We always saw this as a platform for growth, that something takes firstly place here at Klapp, and then people would evolve their connections to do larger projects later on, maybe even feature films. If some project started in Klapp would then get more partners involved and end up as a full-length film.


Is there a project that started in Klapp, and has grown in to a full feature project?

Arnar: The project I am personally working on right now, an Icelandic Bollywood version of Fjalla-Eyvindur, started in a script workshop here at Klapp. website

Ragnhildur: We also can mention the short film Disappear that was originally written for one of our workshops, and evolved into a full-blown project later on. The short is directed by Heimir and shot and produced by Arnar. That project was made possible with the contributions from a number of talented and enthusiastic professionals. website

What are Klapp´s current projects, what lies ahead?

Arnar: We are working in the grassroots at the moment; we are making low budget projects, creating a field of contact platform, experimenting and things like that. We of course want people to approach us, we want people to engage in the organization and come forward with their ideas. We really don’t know what the form of Klapp is yet, we are figuring out what we are exactly. So until that is formed in to more fastened base, everybody is welcome to contact us.

From the start until now, we have been involved in around 19 short films and we are always seeing the name of Klapp in credits etc. We are and will be a cross-over of being a production organization, art collective and group of filmmakers. We are investing in this community, with our projects and that we think is very exciting for us.


We had a great time visiting the Klapp headquarters, with a burning entrepreneur feeling in our hearts, thinking about all the people that have started out in Klapp and what the future holds for this organization. We said our goodbyes to the clan of Klapp, wishing them a bright future.

klapp.is

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

VODUN – trying to grasp the ungraspable

‘VODUN – trying to grasp the ungraspable’
Reportage by Frederic Vanwalleghem

The town of Ouidah – Benin is the spiritual capital of Vodun in West Africa. Vodun is their national religion. Presently there are an estimated 50 million worshippers worldwide. An important aspect of the religion is spirit possession, through which the spirits speak to the devotees only for a short time during the ceremonies. This trance mechanism is a way to heal and get advice about daily matters. From a western point of view, Vodun is seen as mystique religion often associated with black magic, giving way to much misunderstanding.

I lived with the ‘Hounongan Zanzan Zinho Kledjé’ family who adheres the Gambada fetish or the serpent spirit, the basis of the well-known Damballah cult in Haïti. In Vodun and related African diasporic traditions a primordial way to obtain a spiritual experience is by being possessed by the Iwa or spirit. Through spirit possession the devotee and cult spirit become one. The members seem to immerse themselves in a hypnotic trance until one of the spirits starts to inhabit a body. Especially during possession, the identity of the spirit is clearly discernible. A silent and quiet person may become flamboyant and dramatic, dancing with grand gestures.

I was fortunate to encounter and document this intense experience. During a ceremony I witnessed the individual trance of two devotees. The numerous uncontrollable muscle spasms, vocalizations and peculiar eye gazes showed me this was an unfeigned event.

Link to the complete essay : fredericvanwalleghem.com

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Frederic Vanwalleghem, photographer/visual artist, who is from Belgium
also shot these two beautiful photo essays in Iceland, be sure to check them out:

Verid thid blessadir Islendingar
Making space

Glymskrattinn

The dance/concert/play Glymskrattinn is the creation of Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir and Sigríður Soffía Níelsdóttir, dancers and choreographers alongside with Valdimar Jóhannson musician. We took a sneak peak into practice and met up with Melkorka to learn a little more.

Neon Chameleon by Glymskrattinn

How did this piece come about, this is a blend of dance, music and theater?

Yes it is. Sigríður Soffía and me met in Brussels where we were studying, and since then we always wanted to work together. When it finally happened we had a common interest of doing something like this and a clear starting point. We wanted to compose a piece in which music and dance would both get room, neither would be in the foreground, but both equally elements in our creation. The result is the dance/concert piece Glymskrattinn.

The name Glymskrattinn (Jukebox) is a reference to all the music styles we are working with, you insert a coin to the jukebox and you never know what you are going to experience and that is also what’s so exciting. We try to work with stereotypes of different music styles, such as pop, disco, rap and ballads and add a new twist to the songs. We add choreography, exaggeration or reduction from the clichés to create a joyful cabaret, full of humor, singing and dancing. We have partnered up with our music man Valdimar Jóhannsson from the Icelandic band Reykjavík! and Lazyblood, Brynja Björnsdóttir set designer and Ellen Loftsdóttir stylists and together we have worked to create this show that will take place in the National Theatre. The exhibition is sponsored by Evrópa Unga Fólksins, in cooperation with the National Theatre on the Reykjavik Arts Festival.

You have been writing songs, what can you tell me about it? Are you musicians?

We are not musicians in that sense that is we are not trained musicians. Sigríður Soffía played piano for 8 years and I play the Ukulele. On the other hand, we have both sung a lot. Sigríður Soffía sang one of the lead roles in the opera Red Waters last fall in France and Melkorka is singing in a traveling exhibition of performing arts with the band John the Houseband.

Valdimar however is an educated musician; we have created ten brand new songs for this show so we hope that the audience can go dancing and singing into the night afterwards.

What is your background as dancers and what can you tell me about your artistic approach to the piece?

Sigríður Soffía graduated from the Iceland Academy in 2009 and has since worked as a freelance dancer and choreographer. She dances with several groups, including Shalala, the Icelandic Dance Company, DF-Krummi and performance group Bristol Cava Ninja Crew.

Melkorka learned choreography at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam and contemporary dance at PARTS in Brussels, 2006-2010. Since graduation she has worked with Motion Development group (Group Collective), John the Houseband and Belgian Dance Company Ultima Vez.

In this show, we will try to combine different aspects of performing arts, such as dance and music but also the lights and sounds play a major role. The idea is that the audience could come to a concert, listen to different tracks and see the spectacular in the way. In the piece we seek to combine songs and dance in perfect balance. All in all this is heading in a very colorful and entertaining show, we have to double all the technical equipment in the National Theatre and are working with excellent technicians. Ellen Loftsdóttir is doing the costumes that are very funny and Brynja Björnsdóttir, the set designer is equipped to do a lot of great things in the space of the National Theatre.

Broken by Glymskrattinn

Where, when and what? How many shows will there be?

We will allow the audience to judge what will be most surprising in the Glymskrattinn. However, we can reveal that up to the last song in our show combines disco and dubstep in a very innovative way. So praise the excellent dose of glitter and confettis, neon lighting and lazer shows.

There will be four screenings, on Wednesday 20:00 o’clock, after which May 25th May 1st and June 2nd at. 22:30. It is therefore ideal for people going out to dinner or to celebrate before and then go to a concert and spectacular dance show in the National Theatre!

Where can one get tickets?

You can buy tickets at midi.is through the website listahatid.is Arts Festival, the website of the National Theatre leikhusid.is, phone: 551-1200. It is sold out for the premiere, so we encourage people to buy tickets.

 

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

Reykjavík Shorts&Docs festival 2012 – #The price of sex: a documentary

The Reykjavík Shorts&Docs festival finished of with a bang last weekend, for now at least, the plan is to hit the road again to rural areas this summer. The film Price of Sex was screened on the festival in the beginning of May, a documentary about young Eastern European women that have been drawn in to sex trafficking and abuse. Photojournalist and filmmaker Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, tells the story through a personal investigative journey, going partly undercover in the filming process.

After the screening, there was a panel discussion, led by the journalist Jóhannes Kr. Kristjánsson, about these issues. One of the participants in the panel, Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, the project manager in Kristínarhús which is a shelter for women victims out of prostitution and/or human trafficking, sat down with us for a quick interview.

How did this come about, that the Shorts&Docs contacted you for the panel?

Because the Shorts&Docs festival was focusing on female filmmakers and women s issues this year they sought after partnerships with NGOs that work in this field. So they contacted us at Stigamot to co-host this screening and panel which of course we were happy to do, to put focus on these issues that often do not get too much attention. I was also asked to point out candidates for the panel, and I think it was very interesting to have a representative from the police and the ministry of interior.

How do you feel that the film medium is suitable for subjects like this?

This medium is very suitable, for many reasons. The audience get to see the women tell their stories about them being victims of sex trafficking and prostitutions. You never fully understand this reality of these women, unless you get to hear them talk about this in person. But the downside is maybe that this is a visual medium, and women have to be brave to step in front of the camera to tell their story. There are many women that choose to speak in other non visual mediums, or to be blurred out completely if they agree on being filmed.

What can you tell me about this film, The price of sex?

The filmmaker obviously had worked very hard on the film itself. She describes the distress of these women very well, that they come from poor countries, which makes them easy victims for those who are behind human trafficking. The movie is about this distress both when the women are in these situations and the aftermath, because when they are free, this is not at all over, and the recovery process is very complex and difficult.

I think it’s very brave for this filmmaker to manage to get interviews with people involved in soliciting prostitution and pimps. I think that is a very good standpoint to take, because this is not a problem that exists in some kind of a vacuum, there are actual persons behind this demand side of the matter that keep maintaining these human rights violations.

What is your opinion about the filmmaker, did you feel her presence in the film?

Yes, absolutely, she is from Bulgaria and her voice as an author shines very strongly throughout the film. She is of course not just a filmmaker, she is an activist and a photojournalist so she approaches the subject in various ways. She has a webpage for the film: priceofsex.org

Finally, what do you want people to notice the most, if they are going to see this film?

Well, I think the main message is that prostitution is sprung from distress, I think we could stop discussing the myth about the happy prostitute and free will, It is not choice and never will be.

 

We thank Steinunn for takting the time to talk with us, and wish her the best in her profession at Kristínarhús.

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

Grand opening of a pop-up museum in Háskólatorg

Museology students at the University of Iceland have arranged a Pop-Up Museum to celebrate the International Museum Day on Friday the 18th of May. The museum will pop up at Háskólatorg – University Square between 14.00 and 16.00. The theme is HOLIDAYS, because summer is around the corner.

We met with Edda Björnsdóttir, one of the museum´s director, for a quick chat.

When did you start in museum studies, and how did this event come about?

When I started to study museum studies, well this is my second semester, I felt this was an eye opener. The museums are full of stuff and there storage rooms are filling up with things that people don’t even know that exist. It is therefore many options for different kinds of exhibitions and in visual mediating, concerning these things with technological era that we live in.

I am an active member of the museum studies student council. We where browsing the ICOM webpage the other day, and found out that the International museum day was coming up May 18th this year. The theme is Museums in a Changing World, new challenges, new inspirations, which is very appropriate for the time being.

So, you decided to create this museum of “pop-up museum” because of this?

Yes, actually we did. We thought that this kind of museum would suit this theme very well, especially because of its form and medium. Well maybe I should explain in more detail what our museum is all about right?

Yes that would be excellent!

Well, its about giving people a platform to bring things and/or memories to us, to this temporary Pop-Up event, to talk about their memories that are connected to the things they bring or see at the event. A Pop- Up museum is a museum that emerges only for a short while and attends temporarily to its museum obligations. What sets Pop-Up museums apart from classic museums is that they relay entirely upon the guests participation, they form a platform for people to share memories and they do not have a material collection. At a Pop-Up museum people are invited to show and tell about an object relating to the museum’s theme. This way the Pop-Up museum creates a space where trivial objects gain value through the owner’s personal presentation, amongst other objects and presentations. After the Pop-Up museum, the owners take their objects back home, leaving the presentations and photographs of the objects as the only things that can become a collection. These will be made accessible at the museum’s website:smastundarsafnid.com

So, anything else you´d like to add?

Visual anthropology students take part in this event by launching a website that collects the course’s final project. Showing the videos is both the peak and closure of the studying process, and marks the beginning of the summer HOLIDAYS for the students. A final project such as this one gave the students a cherished HOLIDAY (or a brake) from traditional school-projects.

 

Here are a few photos from the grand opening

Interview/photographs: Ása Baldursdóttir

A great cinematic day, hot tubs and a lobster fiesta!

We followed the Shorts&Docs crew on the road, rigging up today´s screenings, having a lot of fun at the ever so great cinema at Sindrabær, Höfn. The films were versatile and great, we saw Icelandic shorts, polish shorts, documentaries and more, a great selection from the four day festival held in Reykjavík prior. We went out and about, stopping at Kaffihornið for an interview and a deep-fried hot dog, drove by the ever so great hot tubs under the Hoffell glacier and then got the privilege too see the former presidential car, located at Bessastaðir.

The crew then invited us to eat lobster at Humarhöfnin where we were served hilariously and very handy bibs, with lobsters on them. They had whole lobsters for us to enjoy for dinner, with instructions on how to eat, with a splendid balsamic edik, bread, salat and home grown spices to go with. This was the best day ever, follow us for a full blown article in Grapevine coverage that will be published soon.

Nanna Dís, Ása, Þórður, Heather & Brynja Dögg

Words: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photos: Nanna Dís

 

With the Shorts&Docs on the road in Höfn!

We decided to go on the road with Reykjavík Shorts&Docs to Höfn í Hornafirði, in the southeast, having a great time, with the wonderful staff of the festival. We are currently covering the festival for Reykjavik Grapevine, and we hope to experience a splendid time, watching movies, going to museums and walking around in this lobster based wonder town. Stay tuned!

Photos: Nanna Dís

Reykjavík Shorts&Docs festival 2012 – #Day 4

We arrived just in time to meet up with Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttur, the project manager from Kristínarhús that participated in the panel after the screening of the documentary The Price of Sex. (interview coming soon) The film is about human trafficking and prostitution, and after the screening we attended a very interesting panel discussions led by Jóhannes Kr. Kristjánsson, journalists. Other participants in the panel were: Alda Hrönn , working as a police officer in Suðurnes. Alda directed the investigation of human trafficking issue that came up in the fall of 2009, Halla Gunnarsdóttir, a minister assistant and Hanna Eiríksdóttir, project management for UN Women in Iceland.

After the panel the award ceremony took place where filmmaker Börkur Sigþórsson was awarded for his short Come to Harm for the Best Icelandic Short Film and Tales of a Sea Cow by Etienne de France got a Special Jury Mention. Finally,  Pawel Wysoczanski was awarded for his documentary We Will Be Happy One Day, that is the best Documentary Newcomer Award. The films were all screened, and afterwards the festival offered talented dj Helgi Svavar bringin us reggae beats accompanied with free beer tasting and fun.

We want to thank all the staff for taking us so well, snooping around this years festival, and hope to see you guys next year!
Now were off to the road, with the festival on the road, going east to Höfn í Hornafjörður. See you guys there this weekend at the ever so lovely screeningroom in Sindrabær.

Text/photographs: Ása Baldursdóttir