Art and Experience: Bjarni Sigurbjornsson(Bjarni Massi), an Icelandic production designer is one of the crew of the movie “Rams”. The movie was sent to Oscars as the representative of Iceland.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Bjarni Sigurbjornsson. I am a production designer from Iceland.
Is this your first time attending Fajr International Film Festival?
Yes, this is my first time, and this also my first visit to Iran.
What motivated you to be here? You are here because of the movie Rams?
First of all, it is interesting to come to Iran for a festival culture wise and to see people from all over the world. Of course any festival is unique and different from others but surely here is different from New York and you are going to see new things. It is another atmosphere. Everywhere is different, but here it is interesting to meet new people. I look forward to come see Iran in my own eyes.
Are you familiar with Iran’s cinema?
Not really, I hope to watch more Iranian films after coming here and meeting filmmakers. It really opened my eyes. The movie that I watched and really liked was “Cow”. How it was made, the spirit and energy coming from the actors, to get to know that the movie was a breakthrough film for Iran’s cinema. Also because the actors were from theater, because at the time having actors who were trained especially for film was not usual. They were a group who knew each other and at the end that film changed everything in Iran’s cinema. So I had a good start in watching Iranian films.
Talk a little about your film.
It is a true story. It is about two brothers who live next to each other but have not talked to each other for 40 years. It is about human, animals and the love for them and also loving others. It is also about the love they have for the land they live in. They have no place to go, this is their life.
The direct of the movie is a famous documentary filmmaker. How did this affect the cinematography of the film?
I do not think it had a major effect. He has also made many short films. He’s telling story bits and pieces of all kinds and they are true. So in a way it is a documentary.
What about before shooting of the film, did he ask for anything special that you should consider?
Not really. There were just certain things to be there. You should first create an atmosphere to make the story around it. I also talked to the actors as well, just to understand how they saw the world around themselves. I had to dig deeper to be able to get the atmosphere. If I don’t know the world I cannot create it. I decided by going to the areas to get ideas. I went to farms and talked to farmers.
Did it make it easier that the beautiful scenery was already there and you did not have to make anything from scratch?
You can never find what you are looking for readily. You have to make up all the details. It matters how every detail in the props and locations help the story.
What about the outdoors?
No. there is always a need to change small things. For instance, I added a wall in between two farms. I am not trying to hide it that this is not real. There was this basement in the film that I spent hours to make the texture of it. Why make it real? Who wants real? It should be beautiful. It is really easy to see what there is in reality. It should be more sophisticated to catch the attention of the audience and help the atmosphere. It is like when you smell something and it wakes something in you, but you cannot tell what happens. Or even with paintings, it is hard to tell why you like this painting instead of another one, but it happens and it is true. It is all about making something that doesn’t belong there.
This movie was sent to the Oscars. How this movie represents the real Iceland? And what made it so special to be sent there?
It is definitely not luck. This film has already gone to many festivals and has won many awards, not to mention that it has been sold to more than 40 countries. It was not a question although other movies were good well. It is a hard question to answer. The publicity of the film had already given more chance to it to be chosen. The movies are chosen online. Our goal was to make a good movie. And we were all on the same direction. We made it work, like your film “Cow”. It was good collaboration.