Vivian Olafsdottir is a 34 year old mother of three, that graduated from Acting in 2012. Her graduating film, “White men” was chosen as the best graduation film in the Acting department. She has recently wrapped shooting on “Axlar-Bjorn”, a full length feature, where she plays Thordis, one of the two main characters, opposite Hafsteinn Hafsteinsson. We got Vivian to tell us a bit about her studies, projects and what must be considered a bright future
The reason why I went to The Film School was simple, I wanted to learn acting and the basics of film making. I have never really been interested in theater acting, as film acting is usually completely different, and in my opinion, more fun. I have always really enjoyed films, they have often influenced me both as a child and an adult, though I am in no way a film nerd. I have yet to see very many of the “must see” films that most everyone that works in this art form has seen and I also have not really read up on the acting gurus . It is just now that I have the inkling to want to explore and study other artists and their style and method, but much of my need to act comes from life itself, my reality.
I was one of those that always needed to be kept busy, had an interest in so many different things and had a great need to express myself. I painted quite a bit and had gotten pretty good at it, but it was never good enough, I never felt like I got properly expressed. That then evolved into photography, I started mixing paintings and photographs, really just to get closer to the image I had in my head, which then evolved into wanting to enter film making. I have often thought about directing and that is something I will get better involved with in the future, but I have dabbled in it a bit.
But acting gives me a lot of freedom to express myself, the creative and playfulness within me gets to flow. What excites me the most about my work today is getting a frame, a certain project that I need to solve and I grow and experience something new in each character I take on. Having to break free of ones own confinement is one of the actors duties and is also extremely healthy for both body and soul.
I am exceedingly grateful for the treasured time at The Film School where I got handed all my first tools of the trade, to be able to step out into the business, and has that foundation been immensely useful. I did well at school, both with the help of wonderful teachers and fellow students. I got to know an army of geniuses there and that network has been a fantastic asset after graduation.
After I graduated, family life took over, along with film making without any grants. My exhusband, Elvar Gunnarsson, is a director and I have both acted in and assisted with, the making of two full length features that he directed. Times have been hard but also a learning experience. I found a solution to working on my craft and having children; taking them to the set and raising them there ! But after all the work, we finally have the harvest and it is called”It Hatched” and is the later of the two films we made. It is almost ready and will be premiered here next year. I play one of the leading roles opposite Gunnar Kristinsson. The film is an ode to the good old horror thrillers that the generation born 1970-80 grew up with. The style of acting is accordingly and was an amazing film to act in, a true challenge and alot to have to take on to interpret the characters almost “cartoonish” and on top of that it is mostly in English. Mira, my character is for instance based on Velma Dinkley, one of the Scooby Doo gang, the one with the glasses.
I have done quite a few commercials, especially foreign ones. I have also been cast as a supporting role in shows (for instance “Sonn sakamal” and “Malid”) and other films, my latest supporting role was in “Let me fall” by Baldvin Z. There I played a pregnant addict (I actually was pregnant at the time) trying to score drugs.
But what I think I am the most proudest of these days is a new film I just acted in. It is called “Axlar-Bjorn” and is the love story between two killers. I play Thordis, one of the leading roles, she was the wife of Bjorn and together they had a rather explosive existence. Axlar-Bjorn himself is played by Hafsteinn Gunnar Hafsteinsson. I treasure this project beyond words. The crew and actors became a family and the work therefor incredible. The director David Charles Fridbertsson has this amazing view of this old legend that most of us Icelanders know and I am excited to see what my fellow countrymen will think of this version of Axlar-Bjorn. Besides that I think the film will do well abroad, we had one of Colombia’s foremost cinematographers, Eduardo Ramirez Gonzalez, who surely brought his own take on Icelandic nature and a stunning frame.
I entered the project rather late, but they had been searching for Thordis. After the decision was made and I had the role, I got the script and was told that shooting would begin in a week and the WHOLE film would be shot in two weeks ! I was so lucky to have Hafsteinn acting with me, he supported me thoroughly through the experience. We only got a few takes, and sometimes only one, so we had to be very well prepared. Hafsteinn and I used every minute we got, when shooting was done for the day, we directly went to rehearsing for the next day. I also received tremendous support from Vilius Petrikas, who was the main producer and completely professional. It was unbelievable how everything came together and ran smoothly and everyone worked so well together.I have not been acting in short films much but at the beginning of the year I got a role in a short film, one of Erlendur Sveinsson´s graduation films, but he was studying in New York. I have not seen it yet, but got notified this week that the short, named “Kanari”, will be premiering at the Foyle Film Festival in Northern Ireland in November and I am very excited about that. I had just had a baby then, but did not let that stop me, just showed up on set with a one month old and breastfed between takes. The other roles in the film were played by Snorri Engilbertsson and Hjortur Johann Jonsson, very talented actors and it was a pleasure working with them.
When there is nothing to do and opportunity is not knocking, I have a need to create my own opportunities. Film making at home, dabbling with directing like putting on a musical with the cultural center in Mosfellsbaer or making music videos, idea- and scene work with acting groups, mocumentary experiment and other small projects to keep fit and increase my networking. I have many exciting project on the horizon. Having starred in two films this year will hopefully bear fruit next year. I am also looking forward to seeing how the films will do at festivals internationally, as well as “Kanari” in November.I have actually also recently started work on a comedy show that is still in the script stage, with good people that of course are also former students at The Film School. I cant divulge more at the moment, but that will be worked on next year as well.
One thing I want to say in closing, enjoy the school dear students and make many mistakes, go as far beyond the box as you can