Heartstone, Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson’s debut feature, won the Queer Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival. Heartstone was one of ten films from all of the sections of the festival that were eligible for the award. The film also came in second in the voting for Best Film in the Venice Days section.
The Queer Lion Award is awarded to the best film with homosexual and queer culture themes. Regarding their choice of Heartstone for the award, the jury wrote, “For the exquisite touch in showing the coming of age of two young friends and analyzing the acceptance of homosexual feelings and passions. For the strong and valid representation of the inner conflict that separates and then re-unites the two main characters, set against a natural environment as breathtaking as it can be hard and cruel.”
The Queer Lion was awarded this year for the tenth time. Former winners include A Single Man by Tom Ford, Philomena by Stephen Frears and The Danish Girl by Tom Hooper.
Heartstone was one of 11 films invited to participate at Venice Days, where it had its world premiere. This was the first time that an Icelandic film has been selected for Venice Days, a competitive and autonomous section at the Venice Film Festival.
Heartstone now continues its festival run. Next up are the Toronto International Film Festival, the Busan International Film Festival, the Warsaw Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival.
About the film
Heartstone is set in a remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland reclaims its rightful place, it’s time for the boys to leave the playground and face the acrimony of adulthood.
Heartstone was written and directed by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson. In the last few years, Gudmundsson has garnered considerable notice for his award-winning short films, most notably Whale Valley. Among Whale Valley’s 45 international awards is a special mention in the main competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Heartstone was produced by Anton Máni Svansson and Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson for Join Motion Pictures and Lise Orheim Stender and Jesper Morthorst for the Danish production company SF Studios Production. The film was shot by the Norwegian cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, edited by the Danes Anne Østerud and Janus Billeskov Jansen, and the score was composed by the Dane Kristian Eidnes Andersen. International sales will be handled by the Berlin-based Films Boutique. The film was made with support from the Icelandic Film Centre and the Danish Film Institute.
Heartstone stars the promising young actors Baldur Einarsson, Blaer Hinriksson, Diljá Valsdóttir, Katla Njálsdóttir, Jónína Thórdís Karlsdóttir, Rán Ragnarsdóttir, Daníel Hans Erlendsson, Theodór Pálsson and Sveinn Sigurbjörnsson. The young cast is ably supported by veterans Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson, Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir, Søren Malling and Gunnar Jónsson.