Grímur Hákonarson‘s Rams (Hrútar) won 22 awards in 2015. In addition to being selected as Iceland’s entry for the 88th Academy Awards, it enjoyed a particularly strong festival run, having won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May and gone on to win the main prize at several film festivals.
Rams tells the story of brothers Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) who live side-by-side but have not spoken in forty years. Stubborn and competitive, they only communicate via handwritten notes delivered by their loyal sheepdog Somi. When a deadly virus threatens their prize-winning sheep and livelihood, they are forced to come together to save their unique family breed, and themselves, from extinction.
Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain (Fúsi) won 13 awards including the Lübecker Nachrichten Audience Prize and Interfilm Church Prize at Lübeck, three awards at Tribeca in the World Narrative Competition (Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actor), and the Nordic Council Film Prize.
Virgin Mountain is the story of 43-year-old Fusi who lacks the courage to step into the world of adulthood. He sleepwalks through everyday life, never deviating from fixed routines. But when an effervescent woman and an eight-year-old girl unexpectedly enter his life, he is forced to take the plunge into the unknown.
Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Sparrows (Þrestir) won 10 awards, including the Silver Hugo Award in the New Directors competition at the 51st Chicago International Film Festival, the Golden Shell Award for Best Film at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and Best Film in the 1-2 Competition at the Warsaw Film Festival. In addition, Atli Óskar Fjalarsson, who stars in the film, has been announced as a Shooting Star for 2016.
Sparrows follows Ari, 16, who has been living in the city with his mother for the last five years. When she leaves for Africa to supervise a research project, Ari is forced to move back to his small hometown in rural Iceland to live with his father Gunnar who spends most nights drinking.