Icelandic Movies Continue To Dominate Awards

The accolades continue to roll in for Icelandic movies with Rams, Sparrows and Virgin Mountain collecting six awards between them in the past week.

Rams | Hrútar

Rams won the Golden Alexander Theo Angelopoulos Award for Best Film at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece. Director Grímur Hákonarson was not able to accept the award in person but sent the following message:

“First I would like to say that I really admire this festival and I’m very sad that I could not be here tonight. I would like to thank the jury and the festival director Dimitri Eipides. He has contributed a lot to Icelandic cinema as a programmer and has been one of the cornerstones of the Reykjavik International Film Festival for many years. I would also like to thank our Greek distributor AMA Films and hope that the film will be well received when It comes to cinemas in Greece.”

“Rams is a personal film. It took me five years to make it and I put my heart and soul into this movie. I think that you can feel that When you watch it. My family comes from the countryside in southern Iceland and I made Rams for my ancestors, my grandfather and my mother.”

“Rams is about the importance of human relationships in difficult times. Even though the main characters are stubborn Icelandic sheep farmers, the film Has a universal message that is especially relevant today.”

The movie also won two awards at the Minsk International Film Festival in Belarus: the Audience Award and a Special Prize from the Minsk city council. In addition, director Grímur Hákonarson received an honorary award for his contribution to Nordic filmmaking at the Northern Film Festival in the Netherlands.

Since winning the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Rams has enjoyed a particularly strong festival run and been selected as Iceland’s entry for the 88th Academy Awards.

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.


Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Sparrows won the Artistic Achievement Award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Amongst its many accolades this year, Sparrows has won 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.

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.

Virgin Mountain | Fúsi

Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain won two awards at the Arras International Film Festival in France: Best Film and a Special Mention for Gunnar Jonsson as Best Actor.

Since its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, Virgin Mountain has gone on to take awards around the world, including Tribeca where it grabbed three awards in the World Narrative Competition (Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actor), and has since gone on to win 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.