Baltasar Kormakur’s The Deep Chosen as Iceland’s Oscar Nominee

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Sat, 10/13/2012 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

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 more than half of the country’s total box office receipts.
 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 deadly lava 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. 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.  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. 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. Since its inception in 2000 Blueeyes has focused on the production of feature films and stage productions but recently opened a television arm.