You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Iceland’s Zik Zak, France’s Arizona Prep ‘The Tree’ (EXCLUSIVE)

‘Paris of the North’s’ Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson sets his third film

Iceland’s Zik Zak Fireworks and France’s Arizona Productions are teaming to produce “The Tree,” a partial change of direction for Iceland’s Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson whose first two features –  “Either Way” and “Paris of the North” – have carved out his reputation for appealing off-beat dramedy.

“A drama with some elements of an unusual thriller and some very darkly funny moments,” said Gunnar Sigurdsson, “The Tree” has a screenplay by “Paris” co-writer Huldar Breidfjord, the scribe of Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s “Niceland (Population 1,000,002).”

“The Tree” revolves around a dispute between neighbors over a tree that stands in a garden and casts a shadow on the neighboring patio, fuelling years of neighborly resentment. As car tires are slashed, pets disappear and Atli – the family son, separated, returned home – is forced to sleep in a tent in the garden to guard the precious family tree, lawyers get vicious, chainsaws appear, tempers run high and something has to give…

“In ‘The Tree,’ we follow so-called ordinary people so driven by anger and fear that they lose all dignity and sense, as they display the most abnormal and aggressive behavior,” said Gunnar Sigurdsson, calling “The Tree” “a very precisely composed film – a sharp blend of keenly observed human behavior and of suspense.”

He added: “Although set in Iceland, this is a very universal story. It’s about the moment when your home stops being a safe place, when your neighbors become your worst enemies and your closest environment becomes a war zone. But it’s also a film about grief, love, relationships, parenthood, childhood and trees of course.”

Gunnar Sigurdsson and Zik Zak producer Thorir Sigurjonsson will attend this week’s Berlin European Film Market to follow up on meetings taken at France’s Les Arcs Festival in December, with an aim to tying down potential co-producers and a sales agent. Gunnar Sigurdsson hopes to begin shooting within the next 12 months.

Announced to Variety just before July’s Karlovy Vary Fest, another Gunnar Sigurdsson project, “Kanari” – turning on an Icelander with a deep fear of flying on a flight from hell to Dusseldorf, and more of a comedy than “Paris of the North”- has not been shelved but will shoot after “The Tree,” said Gunnar Sigurdsson.

David Gordon Green remade the director’s debut, “Either Way,” as “Prince Avalanche,” which won Gordon Green a best director Silver Bear at the 2013 Berlin Festival.

In “Paris of the North,” Sigurdsson returns to a dramedic rural Iceland setting his sophomore outing in a moldering one-horse fishing village, total population 150, in Iceland’s North-West, in the middle of nowhere and on a promontory, dwarfed by a towering volcanic bluff, the imposing Thornfinnur.

That provides asylum from city life for Hugi (Bjorn Thors, seen in Baltasar Kormakur’s “Deep”) an ex-alcoholic who teaches at the village school, until his balance is shattered when his estranged father (Icelandic rock singer-actor Heigi Bjornsson) washes up in the village, back from running a bar in Thailand.

“’Paris of the North’ is a dramatic comedy about possible and impossible family ties. It is also an exploration of distances in human relationships – especially the ones that should feel very close – and about the crisis of masculinity,” Sigurdsson told Variety about the film, which was a warmly-received Competition entry at this week’s Goteborg Festival.

More Film

  • Isnt It Romantic

    The Rom-Com Is Dead. Long Live the Rom-Com (Column)

    The romantic comedy as we’ve known it may well be on its last legs. There is now a whole generation that sees through its synthetic stylings and princess fakery — and, more than that, feels fundamentally insulted by them. Yet “Isn’t It Romantic,” the beguiling meta version of a kitschy-koo romantic comedy, proves (among other [...]

  • Atmosphere91st Annual Academy Awards, Governors Ball

    Inside the 2019 Oscar Parties

    Stars party all around Hollywood before, during, and after the Oscars. Here, Variety hits the town to give you the inside scoop on all the star-studded soirées. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for the latest updates… Variety x Armani Beauty Makeup Artistry Dinner Sunset Tower, Los Angeles, Feb. 20Variety and Giorgio Armani Beauty honored makeup artists Molly [...]

  • 'Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ Heads

    'Monty Python's Life of Brian' Gets 40th Anniversary Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” is heading back into movie theaters to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the classic comedy film. Trafalgar Releasing took the rights to the film last year. The event cinema specialist is planning a 400-screen release on April 18 that will span the U.K. and U.S. as well as territories [...]

  • Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs

    Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs as It Battles With Local Industry

    Yeun Seung-ro has been appointed as CEO of CGV Mars Entertainment, the Korean-owned company that operates Turkey’s largest cinema chain. He replaces Kwak Dong Won, another veteran of the CJ-CGV group. The change of personnel may reflect two ongoing battles within the Turkish film industry. CJ-CGV, which bought Mars for some $650 million in 2016. [...]

  • Woody Allen Developing Next Film With

    Woody Allen Teams With Spain’s Mediapro for Next Film

    MADRID — Woody Allen is re-teaming with Spain’s Mediapro, one of Europe’s biggest independent film-TV companies, to develop his next film with an eye it seems to shooting in Spain. Mediapro co-financed and co-produced two of Allen’s highest-grossing movies, 2008’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which grossed $96.4 million worldwide, and 2011’s “Midnight in Paris” which earned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content