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.
Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís