The first year after graduation I finished two short-films for IFS graduating after me, from the Acting department. Aside I concentrated on my writing.
Guðni Líndal Benediktsson says he tried his luck to have his own short-films brought to as many festivals as possible in order to attract attention. And he was indeed successful.
Cannes, RIFF (Reykjavík International Film Festival) and Reykjavík Shorts and Docs come first to my mind. The last festival even awarded my film “No homo” with their first prize, “The best Icelandic short“. I then felt the urge to take a break from directing and tried out working on the set in a few of the bigger film productions here in Iceland;”Thor: The Dark World” and “Of Horses and men”. Following that I started writing a children´s book, Blóðey. I was successful in that work and it brougt me the Icelandic Children´s Book Prize 2014, leading the way to a further book-contract, a sequel to be published this October.
It´s an eventfull fall for Guðni. He has just entered the Screen Academy Scotland, studying towards his MA in screenwriting.
I found this course by coincidence. My girlfriend is studying here in Edinburgh and through her I just bumped into this. I was immediately taken by the descriptions of the courses and of course, the location is enchanting. We have three semesters,taking from September 2015 to September 2016 and I will leave school with my Masters in screenwriting that fall.
It will be a very expensive year for Guðni since Iceland is not a member of the European Union. However, he was fortunate enough to win a scholarship for non EU members, to half his tuition fees down to 6000£ a year.
I had researched all scholarships in the area hoping to find something but discovered that I was not eligible to apply for any of them because of my nationality. To be quite frank I had lost all hope of financing this with anything else but our Icelandic student loans, probably leaving me in a financial abyss for the rest of my life. But at the eleventh hour I got a mail from the Academy tipping me off to apply for the Garrick scholarship. It was a long shot since they only award one or two students every year but I thought it would be worth having a go. I wrote a long letter of application and posted it on a Wednesday receiving the good news on the following Friday. It seems things involving bureaucracy are more efficient and quicker over here in Scotland than back home in Iceland.
It is difficult for Guðni to describe what it exactly is that attracts his attention when his stories come to live.
I guess I´ve always been drawn to everyday stories. Let´s face it, very few of us lead an exciting life as… for example Jason Bourne. Still, there are these tiny moments in our lives where we still are left feeling that our lives are just as exciting as his. To drop a glass and catch it before it breaks on the floor – slip on ice and still land on our feet – finish your test in a split second before the time is out. These would be situations where you should feel yourself as being a part of an epic story – even if it is only in a minimized context. I know this answer doesn´t exhaust what I am saying but it will give you an idea in which wavelength I´m trying things out in my writing.
This winter Guðni is planning to stock up on manuscripts, to be sent to different places.
Of course I am planning to direct my first full length film within the next few years but I´m also keen on writing manuscripts to sell to production companies. I have also tried myself at writing scripts to computer-games and I am very excited to explore that field further. Most computer game companies nowadays look out for writers with an MA in screenwriting so I think I´m on the right track. Last but not least, writing books seems to suit me , so that would be fun too.
IFS wishes Guðni Lindal Benediktsson all the best and for those of you who want to learn more about this young artist you can visit his homepage at: www.gudnilindal.com