Raindance Film Festival 2021
Interview

Óskar Sveinsson
Against The Current

UK Premiere
November 1

raindance.org

Against the Current is the saga of Veiga, a trans woman born in the Westfjords of Iceland. The film explores a lifetime spent battling against the currents of social expectations, as Veiga attempts to become the first person to kayak around the 2,000 km Icelandic coastline, against the current.


Hey Oskar, it's great to talk with you, how have you been keeping during these strange times?  

I´ve been keeping ok, we managed to keep things pretty normal in Iceland compared to many other countries, so I can’t complain.

Has this time offering you the chance to find some new inspiration or opportunities?

It has definitely given me more time to focus on future projects. When everything slows  down it’s easier to think.

Congratulations on having your UK Premiere of Against The Current at Raindance 2021, what does it mean to you to be at the festival?

It means a lot to me to have the Uk Premiere at Raindance 2021, I lived in London for 10 years, but moved back to Iceland in 2006. So to come back to London and show my film at the festival is a real privilege.

Against The Current has picked up multiple nominations, did you imagine you would get this type of reaction to your documentary?

I always felt that we had a strong story, and to me Veiga is a modern day hero in so many ways.

Can you tell me a little bit about Against The Current, when did you first get introduced to Veiga Grétarsdóttir?

A few years ago I was filming on a sailboat in the remote Westfjords of Iceland, and the captain of the boat told me about Veiga. She had been working for him as a kayak guide and he told me some bits of her story which I found fascinating.

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What was it about Veiga Grétarsdóttir's story that connected with you as a filmmaker?

First of all I thought this was a story that could inspire and help people, and secondly I saw how her personal story and the kayaking trip could be intertwined into one.

How important is the collaboration between a director and subject when working on a documentary like this? 

I think the collaboration needs to be there, and Veiga trusted me with lot of things she did not find comfortable to talk about, and I am very grateful for that.

What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced making Against The Current?

The biggest challenge was filming the kayaking scenes. Cameras and seawater don't mix well, plus that you have to deal with the super unpredictable Icelandic weather.

Does your background as a cinematographer help inform your style and approach to directing?

Possibly! I might visualise my scenes a bit more than others

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I have always worked in the creative field, I worked in the music industry as a songwriter and producer for twenty years with filmmaking on the side, more as a hobby. But eight years ago I switched to filmmaking full time and my passion is to tell stories.

"I worked in the music industry as a songwriter and producer for twenty years with filmmaking on the side, more as a hobby."

Do you have any advice or tips you would offer fellow filmmakers?

Keep shooting! In documentary filmmaking the good bits sometimes come when you least expect them to.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away Against The Current?

Don’t judge so quickly, there often is a story that you don´’t  know.