LANDSLAG; Kyja K-Nelson; mini DV; TRT: 4.00
The gesture of natural forces that physically and metaphysically shape the Skagafjordur region of Iceland.
How did you make this movie, where was it shot?
Landslag was shot during the summer of 2004, primarily on the northern coast of Iceland in the region of Skagafjordur, from where my family emigrated in the late 1800s. I had studied at the University of Iceland from 2000-2001, traveling quite a bit during that time, but I never spent time in Skagafjordur. During the summer of 2004, I returned to Iceland to do some research for a grant proposal (which later led to the making of my film, Sveit). It took a while to sort out portions of my family history so I visited the Icelandic Emigration Center in Hofsos. While doing that research, I shot some video as part of a travelog. That footage was soon transformed into the film, Landslag.
Landslag is the icelandic word for landscape. The film is essentially a documentary (or as some have called it, an avant-doc), meditating on the gestural and natural forces of the area. Thus water and wind feature prominently, as do animals. Human presence is only subtly included, both in the handheld cinematography and a brief sound sample of Icelandic children laughing in the sound design. There are very tranquil moments, where you can see that the wind has helped a plant draw beautiful circles in the sand. And then there are very aggressive moments, for which I chose not to use “clean” sounds of strong Icelandic wind but rather used the sound of wind damaging the sound sample as it hits the microphone and overmodulates. Like most all places on earth, the shift between Iceland’s tranquil and aggressive forces in nature are quite extreme and the shift can happen rapidly.
Is there nything else you want to say about your creative process?
Though I went to Iceland that summer hoping to shoot some footage, I didn’t know at the outset that I would make Landslag. The process was very organic and marks a considerable shift in my filmmaking. Landslag was born out of cinematography and editing (and in fact won awards for both of those aspects), rather than the usual pre-production one would engage in with, say, traditional narrative filmmaking. Thus the production process was very experiential and allowed me to simply play with the camera, light and environment. There was something very freeing about working that way, and that process has followed me since then (for better or worse). Shooting a film that way makes for a lot of work (and often many headaches) for the editor unfortunately. As it turns out, editing is my favorite part of the filmmaking process… however, I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the footage since there was no script or pre-determined story. I spent a lot of time editing. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Out of approximately 4 hours of footage, came Landslag, a 4 minute film!