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TIFF Women Directors: Meet Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir – ‘Playing with Balls’

TIFF Women Directors: Meet Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir - 'Playing with Balls'

Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir is an Icelandic actress,
producer, and VFS (Vancouver Film School) graduate who has received
numerous nominations and awards for her work both in Iceland and
internationally. She’s a founder of Vesturport, Iceland’s most innovative
company of theatre artists, and a co-owner of Zik Zak Filmworks. Her short film Tvíliðaleikur (Playing with Balls) is Magnúsdóttir’s
directorial debut. (Press materials)

Playing with Balls will play at TIFF on September 12.

WaH: Please give us your description
of the film playing.

NKM: As
tempers (and temperatures) rise between a couple on the tennis court, a group
of older lesbians become intrigued with the goings-on, and one of them is
inspired to take the opportunity to act on her desires and escape her daily
routine — but the result may not be the blissful encounter she anticipated.

WaH: What drew you to this story?

NKM: I
wrote the script myself. The story is basically my speculations about “men’s
world.” Do we still live in that world? Are we on the right path in women’s
rights? Are we women sending the right message to get what we want? These thoughts are mixed with a consideration of the rights of gays and lesbians and the
taboo against the mid-life crisis.

When older men choose younger women or have one-night
stands, it’s often explained as human nature taking over, and even looked upon as
heroic by other men. My thought was: If we turn this around, is a woman who has
just a quick fuck in the toilet also a hero? Are women, after a certain age,
allowed to think with their vagina, and does a woman’s randiness differ from a man’s?
Does sexual arousal affect women’s judgment as it clearly affects men’s?

And in
the end, is it all worth it?

WaH: What was the biggest challenge
in making the film?

NKM: My
biggest challenge was to negotiate being the scriptwriter, the director, and the
producer. All positions demand a protection of their own interest.

WaH: What do you want people to
think about when they are leaving the theatre?

NKM: That’s
not for me to decide or even want. It would be a bonus if they are not thinking: “What should I have for dinner?”

WaH: What advice do you have for
other female directors?

NKM: Just
the same advice I would give a male director: Tell a story you feel passionate
about and have a vision — your vision.

WaH: How did you get your film
funded?

NKM: Playing with Balls is a non-budget film. I can’t
call it low-budget, because there was none. Honestly, I just asked my friends,
who happen to be great artists, actors, editors, sound designers, etc., to do me
a favor and help me make this film. Their salaries were a hell of a good party
with lots of food and beer. But when I do my first funded feature film, all of
my generous friends will get work and a generous paycheck.

WaH: Name your favorite women-directed film and why.

NKM: That’s too hard
and painful to answer. It’s like asking me, ‘‘Who do you love more, your mother
or your father?’’

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