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Iceland is not just a "land of fire and ice" in name only. This tiny country is literally built on a hot bed of volcanoes. The 2021 Fagradalsfjall - Geldingadalir volcanic eruption fascinated the rest of the world, with thousands of people making the pilgrimage to experience it during the six months it was active.
This particular event was labeled a "tourist" eruption and had an effective impact on helping the Iceland economy get back on the road to recovery after the Covid-19 lockdown. An unprecedented influx of people journeyed from everywhere the day restrictions were lifted, using this unusual opportunity to get up close and personal with a volcano.
Volcanoes generally have an unrivaled beauty and primal power, but the real story is about the people, in this case the Iceland population, who live in the shadow of what is likened to a "volcanic culture." They face special physical challenges that are different with each eruption, but there is also the connection and inspiration they feel as new land is created before their eyes in their own backyards. There is a fierce pride in their country and in their ability to survive and truly prosper in this oftentimes harsh and forbidding land.
As the Art As Air Project embarked on this filming adventure, we were able to access people from several different walks of life in Iceland. Search and Rescue (SAR) Project Manager Guðbrandur Örn Arnarson and several members of SAR teams talked about dealing with the daily broken bones and heart attacks that were always a possibility with tourists who underestimated their capabilities on the difficult trail to the volcano.
Helicopter pilot Sandra Ólafsdóttir flew back and forth to the site several times every day bringing indescribable feelings of awe to her passengers who were seeing an event like this for the first time in their lives.
Then there are the artists who detailed their inspirations that are many times based in nature. Songwriter, performer and actress (Netflix series Katla), Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð (GDRN), told us her story of how she uses the land to inspire her songwriting, and visual artist Guðmundur Óli Pálmason revealed his "volcanoroids" and abandoned Icelandic structures captured on expired peel-apart film. Award-winning photographer and "Volcano Guy," Ragnar Th Sigurðsson, gave us his decades-long history of photographing every volcanic eruption he could in his lifetime thus far, and Icelandic Lava Show co-creator Júlíus Ingi Jónsson showed us how he makes his own lava to educate people about the composition and causes of different types of eruptions.
Reykjavik Grapevine editor-in-chief Valur Grettisson put things in perspective when he talked about how this volcano brought back a sense of magic to the people of Iceland and the world while reminding us how small we humans are in the scheme of life.
Nature does indeed always have the final say.
Press Coverage
From Reykjavík Grapevine
The 'Fire & Iceland' documentary that was filmed in Iceland last year is now available on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom and the United States. The World Theatrical Premiere will take place on March 19 at the Bíó Paradís theater in Reykjavik at 18:30.
From Iceland Monitor
March 19 a year ago, a volcanic eruption in Fagradalsfjall, Southwest Iceland, began. Quite appropriately, this Saturday, March 19, is when the world theatrical premier of the documentary feature film Fire & Iceland will take place at Bíó Paradís, Reykjavík. The documentary, made by the Art As Air Project, was filmed over the course of the eruption, which ended September 18.
From All Things Iceland
April Anderson is the Director, editor, and cinematographer of the documentary "Fire & Iceland: Art, Culture & Chasing Lava", which showcases the Geldingadalir eruption and gives insight into how locals in Iceland feel about living on an island with such volatile nature.
From Volcano Watch
The weekly news as per usual and then a interview with April Anderson, who is the Director, editor, and cinematographer of the documentary "Fire & Iceland".
From Nature Guys
On March 19, 2021 a volcano erupted in Iceland that captured the imagination of people from all over the world. It also changed the lives of April and Martin, independent filmmakers living in an apartment in New York City.
From Ink 19
When volcanoes erupted on the Reykjanes Peninsula for the first time in 815 years, the world took notice. It’s not every day you get to see the birth of a new volcano. The eruptions that began on March 19, 2021, continued until September 18 and became a tourist mecca in Iceland. Valur Grettisson, of the website Reykjavik Grapevine, gave nearly daily updates on the Fagradalsfjall – Geldingadalir eruptions, relaying the magic and wonder of nature to the world at large.
March 19th Theatrical Premier
Bio Paradis - Reykjavik Iceland