HANN (e. HE), a new Icelandic short film focusing on the struggle with acceptance, will premier at Bíó Paradís this Friday, May the 18th, courtesy of Samtökin ’78 and free of charge.
HANN is a story of adolescence and the unintended pressures from society to stay within the confines of normality. An intimate story inspired by true experiences with acceptance and the long journey it may sometimes take for us to come to terms with who we are. GayIceland contacted the director Rúnar Þór Sigurbjörnsson and asked him about the film and it’s inspiration.
“The film is about a young boy called Andri who is battling his emotions and trying to accept being who he is,” Rúnar Þór explains. “I don’t want to expose the content of the film beforehand, so that’s all I’m going to tell you for now.”
HANN is Rúnar’s first film. The cast is a mix of professional actors and amateurs and Rúnar says that it was no problem getting professionals to partake in the film.
“As soon as they had read the script they were eager to be a part of this production,” he says with a hint of pride in his voice, which is understandable as he is also the script writer.
“What I’m trying to accomplish with this film is to inspire kids this age to take the steps that I was too afraid to take when I was that age.”
But where did he get the inspiration for the story?
“The script is based on my own experience, to an extent,” he says. “It’s based on me and my relationship with my father. I think I was trying to understand how things could have worked out for me if I had come out when I was younger, maybe 16 or 17. What I’m trying to accomplish with this film is to inspire kids this age to take the steps that I was too afraid to take when I was that age.”
Rúnar Þór did not come out as gay til he was 27 years old and he says it was mainly because he was afraid of how people would react.
“I was afraid that if I told people I was gay there was no way back. I was worried that people in my environment would start behaving diffrentely towards me, especially my father.”
Rúnar tried dating girls for years, but he says but that did never work out, for obvious reasons.
“I can honestly say that I didn’t really start living til I came out at the age of 27,” he admits. “I always knew that I was gay, ever since I can remember, I just didn’t want anyone to know.”
In this day and age it’s said to be the easiest thing in the world to come out as gay. That other people hardly react at all. Does Rúnar think that is a wrong conception?
“No, I think that is true to a large extent, but it’s still not considered “normal” to be queer, so it’s always hard for those kids to come out. If it was considered “normal” kids would not have to “come out” in a special fashion. It would be as easy as saying that you don’t like shellfish. I hope that’s how it will be in the future.”
“… it’s still not considered “normal” to be queer, so it’s always hard for those kids to come out.”
Any message Rúnar Þór wants to pass along to the readers of GayIceland?
“I just hope that I will see a lot of them at the premier,” he says. “And especially kids who are struggling with being themselves. I would really like to hear their reaction to the film.”
The premier starts at 18.00 on Friday. After the screening there will be a Q&A where the director and producer will answer questions along with two of the actors and the chair of the National Queer Organisation Samtökin ’78. Following that the director and Samtökin ’78 invite movie goers to a premier party at the restaurant Geiri Smart on Hverfisgata 30.