Meet the 2011 Tribeca Filmmakers | “Gnarr” director Gaukur Úlfarsson

Meet the 2011 Tribeca Filmmakers | "Gnarr" director Gaukur Úlfarsson

You’ll never see politics the same after this raucous documentary. Following his country’s economic meltdown, acerbic Icelandic comedian Jon Gnarr launches his own political party, The Best Party. His platform? Free trips to Disneyland, more polar bears at the zoo, and refusing to work with anyone who doesn’t watch The Wire. But when support for Gnarr’s wacky mayoral bid surprisingly snowballs, what started out as a joke quickly captures the imagination of a nation desperate for a change. [Synopsis courtesy of The Tribeca Film Festival]

Primary Cast: Jón Gnarr, Heiða Helgadóttir, Óttar Proppé, Einar Örn Benediktsson, Thorsteinn Guðmudsson
Director(s): Gaukur Úlfarsson
Producer(s): Sigvaldi J. Kárason, Björn Ófeigsson
Editor: Sigvaldi J. Kárason
Director of Photography: Björn Ófeigsson

[indieWIRE invited directors with films in the Tribeca Narrative, Documentary and Viewpoints sections to submit responses in their own words about their films. These profiles are being published through the beginning of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. To prompt the discussion, indieWIRE asked the filmmakers about what inspired their films, the challenges they faced and other general questions. They were also free to add additional comments related to their projects.]

Responses courtesy of “Gnarr” director Gaukur Úlfarsson:

On falling into filmmaking…

Pure coincidence. I was mainly into music and books as a teenager. One day I accidentally took a wrong bus to work and met a friend of mine who was working at the national television station as a sound man. I got to talking to him about how bored I was with my work and he told me there was an opening at the TV station for an assistant camera man. From then on I got the bug.

On why this project became so interesting…

The idea of the country’s funniest and most surreal artist taking a part in politics and in light of the circumstances, and actually having a chance of being elected, was thrilling to me.

A throwback approach to the film…

I wanted to have it pure action, as in no interviews and no help graphics. Make it a bit like the early day documentaries like “Don’t Look Back” and “Salesman.” It was a daring goal, because you can always fix things that don’t go the right way with graphics or interviews. I was quite happy that we managed to tell the story in such a pure way.

Making the film without any obstacles…

As soon as we decided to go ahead and do it, nothing really stood in our way. It all happened really smoothly like it was all meant to be. The whole experience was one great, long, surreal laugh and everyday was a blast.

Coming up next: New York actresses and Icelandic rap…

I am working on a horror script with an Icelandic writer. It actually needs an actress from New York. I am also working on a documentary on the Icelandic rap band Quarashi who toured a lot in America around 2002 – 2003.

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