Iceland Selects Baltasar Kormakur’s THE DEEP As 2013 Best Foreign Language Oscar Entry
Iceland has selected Baltasar Kormakur’s compelling drama THE DEEP as its entry for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Oscar. THE DEEP, co-written and directed by Kormakur, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Screen International called it “… a masterful blend of sound and fury …” In its opening weekend in Iceland, THE DEEP took in over half of the country’s total boxoffice receipts. Baltasar Kormakur, has worked extensively as an actor, producer and director in both theater and film and he divides his time artistically between Iceland and abroad. He is currently in post-production on his next American film, the Universal Pictures’ thriller, “2 Guns,” starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, scheduled for release in August, 2013.
Based on an astonishing true story, THE DEEP follows Gulli (Olafur Darri Olafsson) the miraculous sole survivor of a fishing boat that sank off the south coast of Iceland in 1984. Against incredible odds, Gulli swam for five hours through the frigid sea only to find himself on a deadlylava field. The Deep” is the tale of an ordinary man whose tenacious will to live made him both an inexplicable scientific phenomenon and a reluctant national hero whose truly fearless act was to return home.
THE DEEP is a classic examination of man vs. nature. It also explores how one man survives with quiet grace and dignity. Gulli eventually returns to his village, embraces the simple life he has always known and, in the process, reclaims himself. The incident it is based on is well-known in Iceland and the movie is also Kormakur’s reflection of the country itself, an island nation constantly affected by the sea and particularly the vagaries of the world beyond.
Kormakur eschewed green screen and tank work and shot the film in the North Atlantic – and many times, found himself swimming in it to achieve shots. He literally went down with the ship - the filmmaker also served as “The Deep’s” defacto stunt coordinator and vowed not to ask his actors to do anything he would not attempt either. The film will screen next at the Mill Valley Film Festival as the festival’s Official Members’ Screening October 9 and October 11, 2012.
Kormakur also directed Wahlberg in “Contraband,” based on “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” which he produced and in which he starred. His other films include “Jar City” – he will produce the American remake with “The Deep” executive producer and Lava Bear Films’ CEO David Linde – and “101 Reykjavik.” He recently optioned the celebrated Iceland book Independent People by Nobel Prize-winner Halldor Laxness. Kormakur co-wrote “The Deep” with Jón Atli Jónasson, based on the stage play of the same name. He produced the movie along with Agnes Johansen through his Blueeyes Productions.