Snaevar Solvi Solvason is a graduate from The Film School, from the Screen writing and Directing department. On May 10th his full length feature, “Eden” will be shown in Sena cinemas and we thought this would be a great opportunity to ask him about the film making process.
Do you remember when films first captured you?
I am sure that there were cartoons in the beginning, For instance I remember that the first film I saw in the cinema was “Oliver and company” in Isafjardarbio in 1988, being three years old at the time. I have not seen it since, but there are scenes in the film that I will never forget, like when he sits in a cardboard box alone and abandoned. But the first live action film that became a “favorite” was probably “Braveheart” and shortly thereafter “The Shawshank Redemption”. I remember that the scene in “Shawshank”, when the men are drinking beer on the roof of the jail and they feel like free men, really moved me. I was around 10 years old when I saw the film and it was the first time I was deeply moved by human beauty in a film. It was then that I wanted to make a film myself one day.
Why did you choose to study film making and why did you choose Screen writing and Directing?
I had started to write and direct home made scenes and I felt right away that I wanted to go this route, but I however had no one to go to as I lived in the west side of the country. It is very important and useful to be able to get comments to improve your work in progress and I thought film making studies would give me professional direction and feedback. Besides that I wanted to get access to film equipment and get to know similarly aged people with the same interest, but many of the greatest film directors got to know their co workers while studying film making.
How did you get on at the school?
The studies went really well and I learnt so many things I still utilize today. For me as an author the Screen Writing courses were the biggest help and more often than not the teachers of those courses were people from the film making industry, that not only guided us, but also often told us stories from the business that I really enjoyed and gave me an insight into the world that awaited me, but I had never gotten to know anyone that worked in the field. The classes with Einar Karason are especially memorable, there you got stories from the “old days” in the business, many of whom were quite juicy. Ottar Nordfjord taught me to make a beat sheet, something I had never realized to do, but always use before I start a new script today. Grimur Hakonarson (” Rams “)and Oskar Axels (“I remember you “) were fantastic guides in the final assignments. Then I had Hrafnkell Stefansson, Head of Studies, who was very helpful and taught us how to inspect the scripts with critical eyes, for one I still hear the sentence “There is a story line, but what is the story?”
On where was the heading set after graduating?
Making films. No Plan B. Sacrifice everything for the pursuit. It has not been easy and you have to weather constant resistance, but if you are faithful to your pursuit, work with sincerity and efficiency, no matter what happens, then one day the wind will blow in your direction. I can talk endlessly about this subject, because this is the most difficult part, but to end this in an efficient and inspiring way I think quoting the Persian poet Rumi; “As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
Your film “Eden”, will premiere soon, can you tel us a bit about the process?
When I got the idea for “Eden” it was one of those moments of inspirational explosion. I was driving from Bolungarvik to Isafjordur and was thinking about a painting of Adam and Eve being thrown out of the garden of Eden (I was working on another assignment connected to the Bible) and suddenly lightning struck in my mind and I saw a couple in Reykjavik that is constantly running away as they experience pointlessness in their life. I immediately saw fast pace and a dynamic atmosphere, where humor was balanced with dramatic moments. I drove straight home and started writing. The next day I called Aevar (known by his artist name, Hansel Eagle) and Telma Huld and introduced them to the idea, but I saw them completely as the main characters. Aevar I already knew (he was the leading role in “Albatross“) ,but I did not know Telma Rut, but had been enchanted by her through the years, for instance saw “Webcam” when it came outand then some short films where she always shone through. Telma and Aevar liked the idea and I started drafting the script right away. I think I would not have taken on making this film if they had not been able to be a part of it, because I needed actors with a certain look, at a certain age and who had a gift for natural dialog. Along with writing I got Gudgeir the producer on my team (he produced “Albatross”) and Logi Ingimars on camera, who was at The Film School with me and shot “Albatross” and more. Soon we had contacted our co producers from “Albatross”, Ingvar Thordar and Julius Kemp, and they liked the idea. We tried to get a grant from The Icelandic Film Fund, but they were not able to support us at that time (fall 2016), so with the help of Ingvar we got private funding for the project. Soon Gudbjorg Sigurdardottir joined the team as a co producer, also a student with us at The Film School, and she aided in the financing. The last shoot was in early 2018 and the rest of the year went to creatig the film score and fine polishing the editing after the music was ready. Then this year we have been sound producing and finishing off the final technical details.
We of course are excited to see the film and wish Snaevar and his team good luck, and here you can enjoy a clip from the film;