The Glasgow Film Festival have announced its first events for the festival in 2020, which includes their Country Focus, Iceland. With many screenings including The County, a humanistic look at a small farm and the eagerly-awaited follow-up from Grímur Hákonarson, and a documentary about Bjork, as well as new feature from Yrsa Roca Fannberg, The Last Autumn. Film Festival Director, Allan Hunter, spoke with The Fountain about the Focus in more depth as well as some of his personal highlights that are programmed for 2020.  

TF: You have chosen Iceland as your country of focus this year, what inspired that?

I’ve always loved Icelandic films from 101 Reykjavik to Woman At War. It is a small country whose films make a big impact in the world. Icelandic cinema captures a real sense of how the soul of the country is felt in its rugged landscapes, weather and proud independence. We just wanted a chance to explore Icelandic cinema in greater depth and to showcase as wide a range of films as possible.

TF: What films from Iceland have inspired you over the years, when it comes to directing and programming the Glasgow Film Festival?

We have shown a number of Icelandic titles over the years at GFF and director Benedict Erlingsson’s work has always proved extremely popular. We showed Woman At War in 2018, which went on to be a huge success in Britain and he was with us in Glasgow in 2014 for Of Men And Horses on the very night it won Best Film in Iceland’s Edda awards.

TF: And are there any particular Icelandic directors that will be featured at the film festival in 2020?

This is our biggest ever country focus and the heart of it is a programme of the very best Icelandic films of the past year. I think audiences will love rural drama The County, a new film from Rams director Grímur Hákonarson, and A White, White Day from Hlynur Pálmason that has a fantastic performance from Ingvar Siguurdsson. We will also be welcoming director Yrsa Roca Fannberg with her documentary The Last Autumn.

TF: Can you name some personal highlights that you have programmed as part of the GFF 2020? 

Every year we have a morning retrospective that is free of charge and open to everyone. This year Are We There Yet?: A Retrospective Of The Future takes a look at some of cinema’s boldest dystopian visions. There are classics like Westworld and Planet of The Apes and a few titles you might never have seen on the big screen and all for free.

TF: And whose decision was it to screen the Bjork documentary, definitely one on my list already?

You can’t celebrate Iceland without paying homage to Bjork, especially given that she played Glasgow in November. We have a 30th anniversary screening of the newly restored acting debut in The Juniper Tree (1990), which marked her acting debut, and that will be part of a day devoted to Icelandic music that also includes a 35mm screening of Screaming Masterpiece (2005).

The Glasgow Film Festival runs from 26th February 2020 until 8th March 2020