The shortfilm “The Wedding Gift”, that had great success at the Cilect film competition in 2016 , has been sold to the television station Arte. The film was a graduation project of Asgeir Logi Axelsson and Ragnar Ingi Magnusson from Creative Technology and was directed by Aron Thor Leifsson from Directing and Producing.
We caught up with Aron Thor and got to talk a bit about the project and the future
To start with, you do not make a film by yourself, not even two or three people. There is a whole group of people that both directly and indirectly where involved like the crews family, friends and others who showed support. We also got some great help from the Film School, its teachers and other students that were for instance willing to go over the script and more.
The wheels started turning when Asgeir, who was in his last semester in Creative Technology, asked me to direct and write his graduation film. We had worked on a similar project for the school and liked each other instantly.
We decided to meet and go over ideas. Asgeir opened his sketch book and in it there were two ideas. The first was about two friend on a mission to get weed. The other was short. in the sketch book it simply said “a microwave by the side of the road” I found the latter idea much more interesting, more open and mysterious and was sure that there was a story there. We therefor decided to choose that idea.
The writing was very entertaining as the idea was very open but at the same time had to be centered from the microwave at the roadside. Why is the microwave there? Who put it there? Was it thrown out? Left by someone who could not bother carrying it?
To find the core of the story one had to think about how microwaves work. Microwaves are a closed space where microwaves produce heat in what is put in them. The heat can be great and suffocating and things even explode in there. From that a story started forming somehow, that obviously changed by each draft, that circled around a car trip where the excitement slowly built and eventually exploded with consequences.
The writing went well under an eighties Spotify playlist and it helped a great deal to have Asgeir to my right to confer with.
The story however did not quite work. The microwave simply was not a significant enough object to carry a whole story even though the story was written around it.
We needed a more important, larger and rarer object. We therefor went to a charity shop looking for this item. It hardly took 60 seconds. This beautiful antique sowing machine greeted us and we were sure it was able to live up to its potential of being the main focus point of the movie,
Ragnar Ingi, who was also in Creative Technology, entered the project when the script was mostly formed and we were glad to have him. He focused on the sound while Asgeir focused on the cinematography and I am very pleased to have been able to work with them as the outcome was an undeniable success.
From a technological standpoint this was an arduous task both regarding sound, picture and yes, acting, as most of the shots were inside a car and we had little experience of that. We rented a trailer, put the car on it with the actors, with cameras on the hood of the car and Asgeirs father pulled it on in his jeep. Asgeir and I sat in the trunk while Ragnar sat in a bundle in the trunk of the other car.
I had to put my trust in the actors Tinna Thorvalds Onnudottir, Hafsteinn Gunnar Hafsteinsson and Lilja Thorisdottir to perform as I had no monitor to observe by. The only thing available were headphones and to watch them from an open trunk of a jeep in the rain. The excitement was therefor great when we went into the editing room and watched their performance. I was sure that they had embraced the task but to put it bluntly, they nailed it, and it was a treat to watch the amazing chemistry between them as the rehearsals had been few.
The production part also had a great part of the filming going well. We got to use the facilities of the company Hedinn in Hafnarfjordur and they invited us to their cafeteria every day. Matthias Kristinsson (who also has a cameo in the film) was in charge of keeping the project going and Marteinn Knaran kept a firm but trusted grip on the shooting schedule and grabbed the camera at one point when the director and cameraman were almost unconscious on the third and last day of shooting. Marteinn also prevented the camera we were using for one cinematic shot from being run over, but we wont dwell on that.
Anna Einarsdottir, our make-up artist also deserves great praise as she was also our stenographer as well as Emil Ulfsson multitasker that was AC and kept the location spirits up.
The post production was in the hands of Asgeir and Ragnar who edited the film and sound with great effect, with a little encouragement from the director.
As will often happen with ones own work, you see flaws in each corner and there is always something you want to change after each viewing. But then you must stand by your work and we were very pleased when the film was chosen the best of the graduation semester and when we got told that it was also chosen for the Cilect competition.
We were relatively pleased to hear the results from the competition although we would of course have liked to win.
The film keeps surprising us. Every time we stop thinking about it we get a request from a festival wanting to screen it and it has traveled the world. We are immensely proud to have Arte contact us and ask to purchase and show the film. Their agent, Jens Schillmöller, visited us the other day and interviewed us. He told us that he had gotten the part of choosing the best Cilect film. There of course were many films for him to view so he and his partner divided the films between them. His partner then told him that he would have to watch our film. They then put our film in the top spot and I think it is the greatest compliment we have gotten.
The future is bright. We are all involved in film making in one way or another and who knows, we just might make another short film in the coming months.
We congratulate the group on their great success and look forward to the next project