We had an opportunity to chat with Guðný Rós Þórhallsdóttir, a graduate from the Directing and producing department at The Film School., but her picture “Vitamin C” has gotten a lot of attention and been shown in a variety of film festivals.
Some people are simply destined to end up in film making and it seems to have been written in the stars for Guðný
I was very young when I became obsessed by films. I was a regular at the VHS rental of Kiddi Vídjófluga in Egilsstaðir, both because he had such a great selection of films, but also cats. I love cats. We did not, for along time, own a VCR, so we rented it with the tapes from Kiddi.
Then when we got a VCR at home I became compelled to record all the films that were being shown on Channel One to tape. On Friday evening it was the Disney films and then I believed I was doing my mother a great favor by recording the boring chick flicks being shown on Sunday evenings. I had my collection very organized, I marked each tape by number and recorded in my pink VHS book what each tape contained. Sometimes I missed the beginning of a film (which was insufferable and I could be moody for days when that happened) and then the films title was not included. If that happened I would watch the film and make up a title that I thought suited. For instance I started too late when I recorded the film “The Royal Tenebaums” Twelve year old Guðný thought the the title “Wearisome Twins” somehow fit that picture. I was addicted to recording films and organizing them, marking everything and then going over the collection again. I even marked myself sick at school more than once to work on the collection. My parents are now stuck with about 500 VHS tapes, each tape containing 2-3 films.
When I was 14 years old I began to experiment with photography, but then I did not own a camera that recorded video, so I started making stop motion videos, my first introduction to film making. Later I got a Canon EOS 60d with video capability and then I started in a more traditional video making.
But it was not until 2014 that I went to LungA school that I went into video workshop with Hrund Atladóttir that I discovered that I could simply study this and start working in film making
Guðný is a graduate from the Directing and producing department of The Film School
The studies went very well and I utilized it to its maximum and on the whole I am very happy with my time there. I enveloped myself into the material and met wonderful people that I care a great deal about and I think that is the best quality of the school the teachers and students you get to know. The studies are very “hands on” that suited me well, although of course there are thing that can be improved and fixed about the school. My graduation film, “The day that the beans ran out” with Atli Rafn Sigurðsson as the lead role, won the “Bjarkinn” award for best graduation film as well as an award for best film in the producing department. That film is about a man who lives a fine life after zombies take over. Bit when his bean cans start to disappear he starts to suspect that there is something wicked is going on
Her film “Vitamin C” has gone far and gotten positive attention
“Vitamin C” is a childhood memory. Based on true events “if you will”. When I was younger I, along with a friend, was adamant on having tombolas to support various charities but then just using the profits to buy Vitamin C fizz tablets. We were never caught however, so “Vitamin C” is me reflecting on what if we had been caught. The film was my third semester project at The Film School
The road of production for each film is unique and comes with different challenges
Well, the script was not ready until a day before shooting started. I had quite some problems with the script as well as with the actors. But about a week before shooting I had nothing, not a script, no actors and no locations. I first got Anja Sæberg for the role of one of the girls and then shortly after that I was able to trick my niece, Eva Sóllilja Einarsdóttir for the other role. I however changed the script after I spoke to their parents and after the first rehearsal I was too afraid to send them home with the script. I was afraid that their parents would freak out and revoke their permission. I mean, what parent allows its child to portray a psychotic murderer? I know of a few now.
I struggled with immense self doubt during this period. I had thought of Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir for the role of the old lady for a long time, but I just could not pick up the phone. I often tried and meant to call. I even once called but got the wrong number. I was petrified that she would be insulted that I had thought of her for this role, that she would be insulted that I had thought of her for this role, that she would think this was foolishness and that I was crazy. Two days before shooting started my then boyfriend, Ari Birgir (co-producer and set designer for the film), called her for me. It came to light that she enjoyed the script and looked forward to playing a villain. I had a wonderful conversation with her by phone where we discussed her character. She loved the idea that this woman was a chain smoker throughout the film. I then asked her if she was alright with that, whether she smoked or had smoked before. She told me she had never touched a cigarette in her live. I asked if I should change that but she was adamant that her character NEEDED to smoke. She smoked almost a whole package of Winston White during that day of shooting.
We were shooting in November but the whole film is shot during the day, so we had problems with daylight – we only had 5 to 6 hour days of shooting and only three days to shoot. Looking back everything went amazingly well, considering nothing was in place a week before shooting started. I had incredible people with me and I am endlessly grateful to them for having been with me through this
The film has already been shown at film festivals and is still going strong
“Vitamin C” was premiered at Shortfish at the Stockfish Film Festival in February. There we won the best film awards and received a one million krona voucher for equipment purchase from Kukl that gave way for the making of the “Bean film”. It also won second prize at the Flateyri Comedy Film Festival and received the title “Iceland’s almost funniest film”.
“Vitamin C” will be shown three times at The Leeds International Film Festival, on Novemb er 2nd and twice on November 12th, competing with 8 other short films for the Audience Awards. It will also be shown at The Hawaii International Film Festival on November 8th in the group “Bad habits die hard”, but “Vitamin C” is the only Icelandic film at HIFF this year. In December it will be shown at a festival in Poland that I do not have information about right now
Guðný owns the company Andvari, with Birta Rán
Andvari was created at the end of the year 2015, a co-operation between me and Birta Rán Björgvinsdóttir, film maker, photographer and bunny enthusiast. The first project we did together was a video to the poetry and “slam happening” , “Dear Girls”. We have been focused on music videos and short film making, have already made two music videos and two short films together, but we have our sights on making a full length feature sometime in the close future
And how does the future look for Guðný?
I am writing and directing a graduation film for Andrea Ýr in the Acting department, we will shoot at the end of November and I can utilize the experience I gained through making “Vitamin C”, but I am not writing a film that all happens during the daytime, haha. Besides that Birta and I are preparing a shoot for a music video and developing a television show with SKOT productions and Glassriver, that I unfortunately can ot go into details on right now
We wish Guðný the best of luck and will follow this film maker in the future