Products & Services Jun 26, 2014

Iceland’s European Film Festival Goes on the Road

A small but dedicated group brings European art film to Iceland's remote villages.

After showing european art films at two festivals in Reykjavik, Iceland’s European Film Festival took to the road to bring cinema to the country’s remote villages and towns. Funded by the European Union Infocentre in Iceland and Bio Paradis, Iceland’s only art house cinema, the festival was essentially loaded into a van for a 10-day tour through the land of ice and fire.

A reporter from The Guardian joined the team as they drove “past sprawling slopes of black scree, towering volcanic outcrops and seemingly endless snow-speckled lava fields.”

His story starts off driving “through vast quantities of savagely beautiful but essentially uninhabited scenery, to show Sudavik (population: 150) a good film or three, for free.” Residents of Sudavik, Olafsvik, and Holmavik welcomed the rare opportunity to get together with their friends, family and neighbors to watch an art film. Siggi Atlason, a resident of Holmavik who runs the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft said that  “There’s something about sitting down, in darkness, in the quiet, everyone together. And then talking about it after, for days. It’s not the same as the TV.”

Iceland produces five or six features each  year, with Ragnar Bragason as the country’s leading light. Inspired by an art film he saw growing up in Sudavik, Ragnar is passionate about bringing film to Iceland’s more distant towns and villages.

Read more about the “cinema in a bus” in The Guardian.