Nina Petersen, a graduate from Screen writing and Directing at The Film School in the spring of 2017, was one of four chosen to participate in Midpoint Intensive Iceland workshop that was held in connection to the Stockfish film festival that just concluded. We had a chat with Nina and got to pry a bit
Films have been a big part of Nina’s life since childhood
I went to see “Titanic” at the cinema when I was 5 years old and I had never seen anything like it. I then got it on VHS for my sixth birthday, after a lot of whining and pleading.At that age I however did not quite understand that it was all make believe. I started wondering, how all the people were killed in the film, as it looked so authentic.After much speculation I came to the conclusion that all the people must have been already dying (or wanting to die), so they were just called upon to act in the film and actually died on screen.Thankfully that was not the case and Leonardo DiCaprio is still ticking.As a child I would often sneak a peek at movies that were age restricted – alone, with friends and with my dad“Disaster” films have always been a favorite with me. Films on natural disasters, catastrophes and large predatory animals, that attack everything in their way.Then I would describe the films I had seen (in exquisite detail), to those of my friends that were not allowed to see them. In the hope that I would frighten the life out of them
I have always been a story teller by nature. I had however never really contemplated studying film making in any seriousness until after I finished secondary school.It was kind of a fluke in reality.I had no experience, had never been in any film related projects. I had never written, not even seen a script. I knew nothing. Except, that I had such an interest in giving it a try and see if I could do it. It was worth the try and I have never regretted applying to The Film School
The school has a special place with me. The memories are many and good. It is impossible to chose one certain memory but I think making my graduation film are among the best. It will be a challenge to top those days we spent in the country side filming. I rarely dropped my smile.It was immensely time consuming work but every day was filled with excitement and joy. I even enjoyed the sweaty and sleepless post production work.There is such pleasure involved in working on something you cherish, with people that are a treat to be with.My final semester assured me that this was exactly what I wanted to do in life
It is incredible how much I learnt in the short time that I was enrolled at the film school.I felt it was important to keep being positive, no matter what was going on. It is easy to fall into a pit of moaning, complaining and giving up, when everything seems to be difficult and going slowly.You have to just keep going and work hard, with a positive attitude. Because that will be evident in the final produce, whether you enjoyed the work and put everything you had into it.Another lesson I learnt: Be someone that people want to work with !You do not make a film by yourself. You need good, trustworthy and talented people to work with you. It both takes some of the burden off you and makes the process more fun…. and the film and/or script will be better for it !I want to work with people I can learn something from.And then it is also EXTREMELY important to not be afraid of making mistakes. It is not the end of the world. Plus, you will learn from them and develop as a film maker (I hope anyway) .I always regret taking the safe and sure route, rather than challenge myself and taking the risk
Bergthora Tomasdottir and I made our graduation film together. It is called “Where mean, old bastards go to die”.Originally we were working on a murder mystery , but at the script stage we realized that it was a far to large project for the short film form. We were in fact working on a full length film.We had already organized the shoot at Hotel Budir and we really wanted to keep it, it is a great location and we were close to commencing. Therefor we decided to write a complete new story but keep the main characters and location from the old script.The rewrite went better than we dared to hope, and from it came a script that we were really excited about.“Where mean, old bastards go to die” is sweet story of the old and lonely Indridi, that decides to spend his last day at a country hotel. There he meets a young drag queen named Paris. They unexpectedly connect and Paris opens Indridi’s eyes, for what life has to offer.
I learnt so much in the making of this film. Everyone who was a part of making it were lovely and such professionals, they are all to be commended. The cooperation with Bergthora is though what rises to the top. It was incredibly encouraging and instructing to work with her.I look forward to working with her in the future, as we have a few ideas in the works
“Two American girls, decide to escape reality back home and go on an adventure packed vacation to Iceland.When they encounter a violent farmer, living in the remote highlands, things take a dangerous turn as they become his captives.”
That is the log line of the horror film “Exit”, that I am developing for Pegasus at the moment.The film will mostly be in English, as the main characters are two American girls and an Icelandic farmer.Lilja Osk Snorradottir, the director of Pegasus and I applied to get into the Midpoint workshop with the film “Exit”. The project was one of four chosen to partake. It is a great opportunity to develop and improve the script even further.It is difficult to divulge anything further as we are still working on the story and its characters
After graduation I did an internship with Pegasus and was then hired at the beginning of the year.I have mostly been in development and script work. Both wrtiing my own material and helping others with their assigments. And in between I have been assisting in production.Pegasus is an amazing company and I am incredibly satisfied with the opportunities I have had there. Every day I learn something new and develop as a film maker. I have plenty to do and time has flown since the first dayBesides that I intend on taking courses and furthering my education in the film industry. Both in directing and cinematography.I also have plans on independent projects of a wide variety, that I unfortunately have not had time for due to a heavy workload.There is a lot in the works and I am so excited for what will come !