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 takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood.
Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson (born 1982, Iceland) graduated from the Icelandic Art Academy. After graduation he moved to Denmark and studied screenwriting. His short films have been selected for more than 200 festivals and won over 50 international awards. Among these accolades are a Special Mention for WHALE VALLEY (2013) in the Official Competition of the Cannes Film Festival and a nomination for the European Film Awards. Gudmundsson developed and wrote his first feature film HEARTSTONE during a Cannes Cinéfondation Residency. While in development, HEARTSTONE also received an award from the Netherlands Production Platform.
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.Queer Lion Award 2016, Venice
Moving… A well-acted, visually atmospheric debut that shows promise, casting a soulful gaze on awkward-age upheavals.The Hollywood Reporter
Let’s be clear. This is not a film about homosexuality or domestic violence or puberty or even life in a rural part of a somewhat remote and isolated country. It’s about the unbreakable bond that two boys share and how it is put to the test when it is confronted with all of these elements. I think that is why they balance so well in this film.Dante Magazine
Affects the heart and leaves a deep impression.Close Up - Italy
A promising debut…Tender… Richly Atmospheric… Formally imposing… Guðmundsson maps the subtle, even subconscious, strain this development places on the relationship with tact and intelligence, aided by the open, naturally expressive performances of his two young leads.Variety
Affecting as well as perceptive in how it intimately depicts the blossoming of youth… just the right amount of confidence, compassion and clear-eyed style… tender, touching.Screen International
Heartstone is a personal story based on my experience growing up in a small fishing village. The core of the film is a strong, beautiful friendship between two boys, and how their environment and inner conflict drive them apart, before the bond they share manages to reunite them again.
A few years ago, at the time I was searching for a story to write, I had a dream about my childhood friend who took his own life as a teenager. In this dream he showed me around our old village, and as we arrived at his childhood home, he smiled and gave me a map of the village. After this we ran off and played with the other kids. When I woke up, I knew I wanted to write a story inspired from this time.
The village was an environment full of contrasts, where the sun shines without rest during the summer and barely rises at all in winter. A place where the same things you love and give you freedom also tie you down. A place where young kids come to know animals and discover how nature and people can be both amazingly beautiful and incredibly cruel.
I wanted to reflect on this period which I feel very strongly about. As a kid and a teenager, I used to wish that I could show the grown-ups around me how our world really was. And that’s what I want to do as a filmmaker; because the years of our youth reflect our lives in a very clear, beautiful, and often harsh manner. I seek inspiration from nature, from the strong feelings that come to you in the mountains, by the sea and when walking over untouched ground, and the ways those feelings relate to our inner emotions.
I believe Heartstone is a story that carries an important message for everyone, especially youth. A story of brotherhood, self-acceptance, strong girls and the importance of family.
CAST & CREW
Principal Cast Baldur Einarsson, Blær Hinriksson, Diljá Valsdóttir, Katla Njálsdóttir
Directed and written by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson
Production Companies SF Studios Production & Join Motion Pictures
Producers Anton Máni Svansson, Lise Orheim Stender, Jesper Morthorst, Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson
Cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen
Editors Anne Østerud, Janus Billeskov Jansen
Sound Peter Schultz
Original Score Kristian Selin Eidnes Andersen
Music Kristian Selin Eidnes Andersen
Production Designer Hulda Helgadóttir
Costume Designer Helga Rós V. Hannam
Make-up artist Kristín Júlla Kristjánsdóttir
International Sales Agent Films Boutique
International Publicist Wolf Consultants
In collaboration with RÚV, TV 2 Denmark & Cosmotone
With the support of Icelandic Film Centre, Danish Film Institute, Eurimages & Icelandic Ministry of Industries and Innovation
FILMS & AWARDS
Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson directed the short films Þröng sýn (2005), Whale Valley (2013) and Ártún (2014). Heartstone (2016) is his debut feature.
Special Mention, Cannes F.F. 2013
Golden Starfish, Hampton’s I.F.F. 2013
Best Short Fiction, Warsaw I.F.F. 2013
European Prize, Brest F.F. 2013
Best European Short, Ghent I.F.F. 2013
Special Mention, Chicago I.F.F. 2013
Best Short Film, EDDA Awards 2013
Grand Prize, Brest F.F. 2014
Nominee to the European Film Awards 2014
Gold Plaque, Chicago I.F.F. 2014
Best Fiction Film, Spot F.F. 2015
Special Jury Prize, RiverRun I.F.F. 2015
+ over 40 other awards.
Köpenicker Strasse 184
10997 Berlin – Germany
Ph : +493069537850
JOIN MOTION PICTURES
101 Reykjavik – Iceland
SF STUDIOS PRODUCTION
1408 Copenhagen, Denmark
Ph: +45 35 27 00 80
The photos of scenes in the film are by Roxana Reiss. Photo of Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson is by Ingibjörg Torfadóttir.