When Dazed Digital were invited over to Iceland Airwaves 2010, we thought we would take the opportunity to make a film about some of the unique issues facing the country's young generation. Iceland’s profound economic meltdown at the height of the global recession and the subsequent attempts by multi-national corporations to take advantage of the situation – such as the highly-publicised and ongoing battle to stop the selling of the privatised Icelandic energy company HS ORKA to MAGMA ENERGY (who intend to conduct extensive geothermal drilling, which could have a potentially catastrophic environmental impact upon the country) – has, in the last couple of years, resulted in many losing their homes and their jobs, but it hasn’t dampened the seemingly indomitable spirit of the people. In fact, when we stepped off the plane we found a rebellious and creative generation with an all-for-one attitude who were more than ready to reshape their country, a generation spearheaded in many ways by the much-loved comedian-turned-mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr.
The documentary Northern Light is the first feature-length documentary to be produced for Dazed TV and features interviews with Icelandic bands such as Agent Fresco, Seabear and Mammut, cutting-edge designers and artists such as Mundi Vondi and Eygló Margrét Lárusdóttir and young filmmakers such as Kristín Bára Haraldsdóttir and Hrefna Hagelin. There is also comment from some more established figures, such as the internationally celebrated contemporary artist Ragnar Kjartansson, the acclaimed music producer Valgeir Sigurðsson (who has produced many of Björk's albums), and the highly-respected film director Hilmar Oddsson, among many others. What we wanted to find out from them was how people in Iceland have been pulling together against the odds to create the possibility of a future with a groundbreaking new political paradigm – one full of hope, optimism and creativity.