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Interview with Filmmaker Fridrik Thor

By Jade Arroyo

Fridrik Thor is an acclaimed Icelandic filmmaker, world renowned for the film boom during the 1980s and 1990s in Iceland. He focuses his artistic creation mainly on experimental films and documentaries. Thor visited San Miguel in February and had a brief interview with Atención, during which we discussed the formidable career of this prolific filmmaker and had a small preview of the film he is currently working on.

Anyone familiar with Thor’s work recognizes his trademark deadpan sense of humor. He perhaps spares his Icelandic characters a bit, though.
His most recent work is the documentary A Mother’s Courage: Responding to Autism, locally called Child of the Sun, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009. His most recent film is Mamma Gogo, preselected as a candidate for some European awards, such as the Voice Award 2010. It is autobiographical, dealing with Thor’s life and his mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

In 1990 he founded the Icelandic Film Corporation, which since then has become the largest film production company in Iceland. The company produces films and works with other Icelandic directors and producers. Thor’s reputation has allowed the company to build an international network of coproducing member companies, including Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa and, most recently, Zoetrope of the American Francis Ford Coppola. His second production, Children of Nature (1991), was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category and won the Grand Prize and the fourth Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in February 1993.

Thor grew up in Iceland in the 1960s and was heavily influenced by American movies. Moreover, the influence of the works of Akira Jurosawa, John Ford, and Nicholas Ray were important in his decision to become a filmmaker. This filmmaker is famous for the strong visual style of his films, including stunning images. These films are highly personal and are based on the culture of Iceland. Often they feature characters at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. Thor is said to combine a personal sense of humor with a genuine solidarity with the characters.

He said he can’t reveal the name or plot of his next movie, but he mentioned that he already has the script ready, and he’s starting to cast actors for it. They will all be from Iceland, as in all of his previous films.


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