Gargandi snilld ('Screaming Masterpiece')

"When my generation came along we started to ask ourselves what it meant to be Icelandic and how to be proud of it instead of feeling guilty all the time," explained Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. "So what you have is screaming patriotism with heavy doses of adolescence."

Björk, who won the Best Actress award in Cannes for her lead in Danish director Lars von Trier's 'Dancer in the Dark', is herself in Icelandic director Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon's documentary, 'Screaming Masterpiece', a documentary about the music scene in Reykjavik 23 years after it was presented by Fridrik Thór Fridriksson in 'Rokk í Reykjavik' ('Rock in Reykjavik').

"Obviously it was impossible to script such a film far in advance, but the intention was clearly as set out in the synopsis, and the structure follows the music, building up from short segments and interviews to the major concerts which were covered exhaustively with several cameras and in careful co-operation with the bands and artists," Magnússon said.

Launched at the Gothenburg International Film Festival, to enter the international circuit, 'Screaming Masterpiece' explores the roots of the vibrant Reykjavik scene - and how it continues to produce new artists who grab the world's attention, such as Sigur Rós, Múm, Bang Gang, Mugison, Minus and Slowblow.

"I was going to work in a chocolate factory when we formed the band," Múm recalled.

Music is the focal point, but - with more than 30 songs on the music list - the film goes backstage for background stories on the performers - NilFisk, for instance, a teenage rock band from suburban Reykjavik.

The members attended the same dinner as American group, The Foo Fighters, the night before its first concert in Iceland, and were signed to open the show.

How has this tiny nation actually managed to do it? "The obvious answer - the people there have long nights on their hands with little to do but drink.

Other factors considered include a strong sense of community, originality fostered by isolation from other cultures, the beauty of the island's landscape, and an oral tradition stretching back a thousand years," Variety concluded.

Director: Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon

Originally an artist - with a degree in fine arts from Paris - Ari Alexander Ergis Magnusson has exhibited his paintings, installations and video works in Iceland, France, the UK, Russia, China and Argentina.

In 1994 he made his first documentary, 'Kjuregej' ('Back to Siberia'), about his mother's return to visit her native Siberia after the demise of the Soviet Union. In recent years he has increasingly focused on filmmaking - he directed 'The Making of Falcons' and 'The Making of Niceland', two features by Icelandic director Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, as well as ''Possibilities'', three-year study of the life and work of Icelandic artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson. He is currently finishing a film portrait of Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, 'Cloud in Pants'.

Producers: Sigurjón Sighvatsson, Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon

A former rock musician in Iceland, now LA-based film producer, Sigurjon Sighvatsson has more than 30 features and television series to his credit. Having finished a BA in English and Literature and an MFA in Film, he founded Propaganda Films with Steve Golin in 1986, to become a leading music video and commercial production company earning 30 MTV awards as well as numerous Grammys and Clios. In 1995, he was the founding president of Lakeshore Entertainment, and in 1999 became the controlling shareholder in Palomar Pictures.


Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon


Sigurjón Sighvatsson, Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon, Palomar Pictures, Ergis Film Productions, Zik Zak Filmworks

Local distributor:

Zik Zak Filmworks.

International sales:

Katapult Film Sale