Icelandic director Rúnar Rúnarsson took home the Golden Shell Award for best picture at the San Sebastián International Film Festival this past week.
“Þrestir” (Sparrows), is a poetic drama about a 16 year-old boy, Ari, played by Atli Óskar Fjalarsson. As his mother leaves for Angola with her new husband, Ari attempts to reconnect with his estranged father in a run down, sparsely-populated, fishing village in the Westfjords.
Rúnar not only directed the film, but also wrote the script. Nimbus Films and Nimbus Iceland produced the film while Croatia’s MP Film Productions and Iceland’s Pegasus Pictures co-produced.
When asked about the title of the film, Rúnarsson said, “I like indirect titles for films. It started as a working title at an early stage. Then I was thinking about the fragility of the main characters being represented by this beautiful bird. The title really grew on me, and I started to research the metaphorical meaning of it. The sparrow is often used in the bible to represent innocence and transition. I thought that was appropriate for our film.”
Rúnarsson is no stranger to awards – his feature debut “Volcano” won 17 awards. Rúnar’s short films, “Two Birds,” played in Cannes in 2008, and 2006’s “The Last Farm,” gained an Oscar nomination.
“Þrestir” will be screened at the Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) on Friday, October 2nd, at 6pm at the Háskólabíó Cinema.