Arsaell Rafn Erlingsson, a graduate from Acting at The Film School, has in co-operation with Lovisa Lara, a graduate from Screen writing and Directing, and Lolly Magg, a graduate of Acting, put on open mic nights called “PobbaRodd” in Icelandic. They are held in Svarti Petur bar in Akranes monthly and we got to pry about the project and get an insight on Arsaell as well.
Do you remember when film making first became appealing and the first film that captured you?
I remember watching films like “Smokie and the Bandit” and “Back to the future” when I was young and was thoroughly impressed. What however did make an even bigger impact were the films in the Cornetto trilogy; “Shaun of the dead”, “Hot Fuzz” and then later “At worlds end”. It was a genre of film making that enchanted me as well as the Guy Ritchie films “Lock Stock and two Smoking barrels” and “Snatch”.
Why did you decide to study film making and chose Acting?
I have always been fascinated by acting although I had not done much of it through the years. I saw an ad from The Film School a few years ago and I was intrigued, especially towards the acting studies. I applied but did not get in, but my wife Lovisa got into Screen writing and Directing, She finished her 2 years and I got to know the studies very well through her. It made me even more excited to re-apply and I did it in the fall after she graduated and was accepted. It was one of my favorite times on my 33 years.
And how did you do in your studies?
The studies went very well. I obviously learnt a lot when it came to acting, but also so much else in film making. The studies has aided me in most of what I am doing. For instance I am now working at a youth center and the studies certainly are of good use there, both in free time play and at the youth club.
No academics are perfect but as I see it the school is still young and has room to grow and improve in many ways. The students do have the responsibility to point out if anything can be done better. The school does listen.
Your first steps after graduation?
After graduation I applied for different projects and got them. I have also been taking on extra work but also acting in short films. But in between I was also doing another job and lost focus on the target a bit, which mas making it big of course. Then Lovisa and I were starting the film festival Frostbiter around the time I was graduating.
Where did the idea for “PobbaRodd” (Open mic night) come from?
Lovisa, Lolly and I were asked to do stand-up at Vokudagar festival in Akranes. We had been trying on stand-up for a while before, Lolly doing a bit more as she is a regular at the Secret Cellar nights. The evening was a success and after that many people came up to us, congratulating us and showing interest in performing themselves. From there the idea for an open mic night arose. We received a grant from the Organisation of Municipalities of the West to start “PobbaRodd” in February.
Your co-operation with you fellow Film School students has been a successf, but how did that start?
My co-operation with Lovisa has been long and successful, as we have been married for 6 years. Lolly and I were in the Acting department at The Film School and became good friends there. She and Bergur Lindal, a graduate from Creative Technology, have also moved to Akranes and where we interact quite a bit. We also have a great working relationship and we are efficient in delegating the work. Bergur has also helped with technical issues and his brother, Thorri Lindal, created our logo. A wonderful Akranes and Film School co-operation.
And how did you do on your first open mic night?
The first “PobbaRodd” evening that we held was at Vokudagar festival in Akranes. The event was held, as have all subsequent events, at Svarti Petur bar. We did not have high expectations on the number of people showing up but we completely filled the place. When all the seats were occupied, people were standing and is was an amazing evening in every way.
We have not had any big upsets, it has all gone smoothly and by now we are excited rather than stressed for each open mic night.
And finally, future expectations?
Our expectations are to add to the varied culture events in Akranes and the west part of Iceland. We feel that people that live outside of Reykjavik should not always have to go to the capital for fun cultural events, It is also a great venue for people from the capital to come and give their material a try in the countryside.
And lastly ;
“PobbaRodd” are monthly open mic nights in Akranes (unless advertised differently) , where all stage performance can enjoy a great venue. We do not however appreciate jokes that are aimed to oppress others and commonly we have the same rule as the music festival Eistnaflug ; don’t be an idiot