On a recent trip to Iceland, one of our commercial directors, Luke Logan, had the pleasure of interviewing revered Icelandic director Valdimar Leifsson.
Watch the film as he talks about his beloved homeland, his career and passion for film.
My name is Valdimar Leifsson, which is equivalent to Vladimir and the meaning of the word is king of the sea.
I’m a filmmaker, living in Iceland and born here but I studied in California, Columbia college. I was working for State Television for 2 – 3 years. And since then I’ve been independent. Done a lot of documentaries, mostly about nature and scientific. Then I got this idea with my wife, probably about six years ago to open up a little cinema. And here I am today, its doing good, its doing great.
There is a one hour film called Birth of an Island, I go thoroughly through the story of how Iceland is in the middle of the Icelandic Ridge and why the volcanoes are erupting every second to third year. When we go filming volcanoes I always try to have the wind in my back because there could be some poison gas.
I see some people in front of me, I wait and see “ok, they are ok”. I don’t try to take too much chance but you never know. But of course you need to be careful and the last eruption I was filming there was a lot of poisonous gas. Later on everyone had to have a mask. I didn’t know about this until too late, but I’m still here!
You feel like this, its so great, its so big!
It’s so, and also I think a lot I’m just a little little thing. Also I think people today think they are the center of everything but we are not. We are just a millisecond of something behind and something in front. So that’s a thought that I get when I’m close to a thing like that.
I think nature is something we think “this is life”. Its how its been all the time, I just take it for granted but for foreigners when they come they see it differently. I remember when I was going to the airport and picking up a foreigner to take them to town. I was the same because I was driving from Keflavík to Reykjavik. There are no trees, just land. And I was “well we have trees somewhere else!” but now the foreigners say “wow, this is great, this is great!” just being in nature. Especially sometimes you know, standing alone and watching and thinking. It’s great. You have to have a passion. What I like the most if I want to be honest is, the film isn’t the main thing. The main thing is I’m in the nature, I love it. But I need something to live on and I know how to film so I do that.
But, maybe I’m too humble but I love this life.
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