Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Dean of The Film School, gives his graduation speech

The deans graduation speech, on graduation day February 20th

Dear graduates and relations, teachers and staff. I bid you welcome to our graduation from The Icelandic Film School. This graduation should have been, according to tradition, in December, but because of Covid we had to stretch the fall semester, so we are graduating now in February.  


Today is a day that belongs to the graduates. It has not been without effort to arrive here today, after two hectic years. But you made it, you set your sights on the finish line and let nothing get in your way. Yesterday you premiered your graduation films, today you can celebrate and relax and enjoy this milestone.


What can be ahead of you : 


The most popular film at the cinemas these days is “Hvernig a ad vera klassadrusla”. The film has attracted thousands of viewers. The director and screenwriter is calle Olof Birna Torfadottir and graduated from Screen writing and Directing in 2016. The first draft for the script was made in a course at the school. The producer Oskar Long Hinriksson graduated from Directing and Producing in 2019.The cinematographer Magnus Ingvar Bjarnason and sound mixer Bergur Lindal are graduates from Creative Technology in 2016. The lead actresses that perform triumphantly, are graduates from our Acting department, Ylfa Marin Haraldsdottir in 2018 and Asta Julia Eliasdottir in 2011. Many more graduates are in key roles in the production. 


We might expect that some of you will be in the same position after 4-10 years, to be a participant and creator of the most popular movie in town. That is not a drag, I can say from personal experience. 


What we do know about you as graduates based on measurement, is that everyone of you will dabble in filmmaking, 80% of you will work in the field and 40-50% of you will stay in the industry. It has therefor been calculated that awaiting you are various triumphs. But “Klassadruslan” also teaches us the value of the networking you have done at The Film School.  


I unfortunately have to approach some politics now. 


The Icelandic Film School will be 30 years old next year. For the last eight years the school has been a certified member of Cilect, the International Association of Film and television schools. In that arena the school has been able to compare its quality with the very best in an annual school film competition, where our success has been both good and even. 

In a new internal evaluation report that the school published in November it states that all the main focuses in the quality control are positive, e.g. employment, attendance and satisfaction level of graduates, rewards and recognitions of our student films. The Film School has had a second student degree as an admission requirement since 2010 and about 80% of the students have that. The average age of students is 24 years, so they are typical Icelandic university students.  


The Icelandic Film School has for the last 10 years tried to establish a formal cooperation with both The Icelandic Arts University and The University of Iceland. That has repeatedly been rejected. From The University of Iceland there has however a clear statement been made that if The Film School receives a university qualification for their diplomas, then it will start a cooperation to add towards a Bachelor's degree.   


It borders on being embarrassing, how difficult it has been for the Icelandic Government to finish processing this request, which is a case of equality for the students.   


The status of the request being that the ministry still has it in review. 


I am optimistic that a conclusion will be reached soon and that the Film School will officially be a university by the fall. I am basing this on the simple fact that the education- and culture ministry is in the hands of the Progressive party (Framsoknarflokkurinn). That political party has been in a key role when it comes to development of the Icelandic film industry, ever since the Icelandic Film Fund was established. I know that The Minister of Culture for the Progressive Party will make sure that one of the pillars of the film- and television industry in Iceland that The Icelandic Film School is, will be able to function normally..


That was the politics.


To you graduating I say: Be yourself, be productive and enjoy the day. 


Thank you