Faroe Island is a new and upcoming nation of young talented filmmakers, now waiting in the wings. All they have is talent and exotic nature, remote on the map, but close-knit in travelling.
First filmings on home turf were made at a royal visit in 1907, and three years later the first Faroese movie theatre opened. Since then the Faroe Islands have been used as backdrop in foreign productions, starting with Sten Nordenskiöld’s silent semidocumentary Farornas Ö, shot on the birdcliffs of Skúgvoy in 1929 and premiered in Stockholm the following year. Other foreign features, using the vertical cliffs and violent currents of Faroe as platform, are German DEFA-production Schatten über den Inseln (DDR 1952), Selkvinnen (NO 1953), Tro, håb og trolddom (DK 1960), Barbara – wild wie das Meer (BRD 1961), Barbara (DK 1997), Dansinn (IS 1998) and Buzz Aldrin, hvor ble det av deg i alt mylderet? (NO 2011)
With neither fundings or industry, Faroese filmmakers have been depending on Denmark and Nordic cooperation, often resulting in Danish directors taking the helm. Already in the inter-war period Leo Hansen filmed and researched here, mostly for commercial purposes. In 1949 Jørgen Roos portrayed a local farmer, in 1965 Knud Leif Thomsen found Stefan Danielsen a thrilling theme in Nólsoy, while Ulla Boje Rasmussen created magnificent portraits in Gásadalur (1990) and Mykines (1992). Later she documented the political negotiations between Faroe Islands and Denmark in Færøerne.dk (DK 2003).
Teamed up with local writers Jack Kampmann and William Heinesen, documentarist Jørgen Roos made Færøerne – Føroyar (DK 1961) honoured with Evreux gold. In 1970’s similar collaborations were made with local writers, such as Gunnar Hoydal and Steinbjørn B. Jacobsen, and two decades later with local producers, such as Per Zachariassen, always for Danish television.
With a brilliant eye for detail Jákup Andreas Arge filmed striking elements of cultural history when farmers were harvesting the corn fields of Húsavík in the sixties. Furthermore he delivered material for documentaries in Danish television, describing everyday life in late 1960’s.
Guðrið Helmsdal Nielsen og Elin Karbech Mouritsen
í filminum Rannvá eftir Miguel Hidalgo
In the early seventies production company Tór Film made ambitious productions on cultural life and even portraits on famous writers William Heinesen, Christian Matras and Heðin Brú, in durable documentary Tríggir varðar (FO 1977). In mid seventies Spanish resident Miguel Hidalgo made three amateur filmings of tales like Rannvá (FO 1974), Páll Fangi (FO 1975) and Heystblómur (FO 1977).
Faroese televison, Sjónvarp Føroya, establised 1984, has hitherto had a very poor output of fictional productions, long or short. Worth mentioning though are Eir í Ólavstovu’s Alfred (FO 1986) and Øssur Winthereig’s Stjórin er á floti (FO 1987).
Collaborations with local writer William Heinesen tried a new expression in the 1980’s, when adventorus Henning Carlsen searched for grants to film Don Juan fra Tranhuset, but without success.
Katrin Ottarsdóttir, the only faroese filmmaker of international importance, appears on a Nordic Film Festival in the new Nordic Huse, presenting Atlantic Rhapsody (FO 1989) for an international audience. This first Faroese feature length film was shot in 16mm and blown up to 35mm for theatrical release. In 52 scenes it is a caleidoscopic look at Tóshavn during a day. Festival is mentioned in Variety and leading filmcritic, Derek Malcolm of the Guardian, gave it a nod towards Woody Allen’s intimate portraits of Manhattan. Atlantic Rhapsody won first prize at the Nordic Filmfestival in Lübeck 1989. Later, Katrin has made a road movie in the Faroe Islands Bye Bye Blue Bird (DK 1999) and a trilogy portraying the Faroese artists Hans Pauli Olsen in Eingin kann gera tað perfekta (FO2008), Tóroddur Poulsen in Ein regla um dagin má vera nokk (FO 2008) and Jóanes Nielsen in Sporini vaksa úr orðum (FO 2009). Latest production from Katrin is filming her daugter, Hildigunn Eyðfinnsdóttir, in five thrilling bw shorts in a five room apartment, called Lejlighedsminder (DK 2012).
Teitur Árnason predicted a new cull of Faroese filmmakers with his poetic Burturhugur (FO 2002) documenting daily life in remote village of Hattarvík, Fugloy.
Since then young talents like Sakaris Stórá, Passasjeren (NO 2009), Anton Petersen Skýming (FO 2012) and Heiðrik á Heygum Sigarett (FO 2010) have taken the still virginal soil of Faroese film. They have all been presented at the Nordic Filmfestival in Lübeck 2011, same year as Sakaris won first prize as best young talent in Reykjavik International Film Festival. Now in production is his Summarnátt (FO 2012).
Under the name Magma, Marianna Mørkøre and Rannvá Káradóttir, have made surrealistic short dance projects in bw, finding the way to international festivals and fashion shows. Lately Heiðrik á Heygum has also had sucess with the rock video format in Orka: Alda reyð (FO 2011)
Since 2009 Klippfisk has been a workshop and hang out for young Faroese film talents. In 2012 the Nordic House announced the first Faroese film fund offering 200.000 Dkkr for Faroese productions.