Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir
“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
ANNA IS CURRENTLY A THESIS STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HER A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY:
Where do you consider home and what is it like there?
I was born and raised in Iceland in a small town up north - a little winter wonderland. Therefore it always makes me very happy when it snows, it grounds me and gives me energy - yet I do love sweating in 95°F, which we never experience in Iceland.
I’m used to living out of a suitcase and I’ve lived in different places; in an abandoned office building in Cologne, Germany, in a tent in the Basque Country in Spain and in Salzburg, Austria, which felt like living in a postcard. I recently moved back from New York to Reykjavik in Iceland which is my home at the moment.
When I was very young I got used to not having a home in one place and it suits me perfectly. Home to me is where I sleep. Home is a moving place, something that can change and travel between places as long as I have my husband and daughter with me. It’s a place where I can relax, drink coffee and have my friends and family over for a visit. A place where I can work, take a shower and eat my dinner. It doesn’t matter where in the world it is and I prefer not to settle anywhere permanently, at least not for now. But in my heart Iceland is home with the long and bright summer nights that I love. The best time is at 5am in the morning in June as the sun never goes down, it gets so peaceful and calm, the stillness is like nowhere else. It is a true magic hour, it feels like the time stops and you don’t want to go home to sleep.
What or who is inspiring you right now and why?
Ordinary people are my inspiration because everyone has a story to tell when you give yourself the time and space to listen. You dig a little deeper to realize that no one is ordinary and everyone has been through experiences that shape them and define who they are.
Great acting is also an inspiration to me and at the moment I am watching The Wire which I think is one of the best TV-shows out there. I am also reading Big Little Lies before I watch the new HBO miniseries. I usually try to read the material before I watch it if it is based on a novel just to get my own imagination going before I watch the creative vision of others. I also don’t mind spoilers when it comes to TV and films.
I also recently watched the Norwegian TV-series SKAM which challenges the form by releasing clips from the show over the week and at the end of the week they show the full episode. Everytime someone sends a text on the show for example they release a clip and it really makes the audience crave for more. It makes them more involved while following the show as they wait for the clips and it turns the internet upside down as the clips are uploaded at random times. Each season focuses on one character and the next season the show has a new lead character which makes each season unique. The length of each episode is not always the same, it has extremely well-written dialogue and great acting by very young performers.
My daughter is now two weeks old and she is at the moment my biggest inspiration. The amazing transformation my body has gone through in the past months is stunning. Nature simply takes care of things and it astonishes me everyday. It may sound like a cliché but having a baby has changed me and planet earth is just a little bit brighter and more beautiful.
What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
The people I have met, my friends from the program, the faculty and the speakers we have had the opportunity to meet at workshops have been the most rewarding experience. The people I have worked with on set, my classmates that have helped me shape my vision and workshop my scripts have transformed me. My cast and crew on every single project I have made, people who believed in my stories and supported me all the way so my films could become something more than my imagination.
Living in New York City also really affected me deeply. It can be so familiar yet so foreign and if you need an inspiration, something new or old you can always find it. Yet you find your own spots, your own cafés and wine stores, your bench in the park and your path that you prefer to walk everyday. The people on the streets, the way they dress and the way they move, the way the city welcomes you and is open to conversation is an everyday inspiration.
But the deep friendships I found within the program is the most valuable part of my experience at the 10th floor of Tisch. Not only the classmates but the staff, the faculty, the barista on the first floor, the smiling security guards, the people in the elevator who tell you that you are wearing nice shoes when you are having a crappy day after a long night in the editing room. You can feel that the friends you make - they’ve got your back at all times.