Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson won the Best Director award at the Tokyo International Film Festival for his debut film Hross í oss (Of Horses and Men) earlier today.
The film has garnered international acclaim, was also chosen as Iceland’s contribution to the 2014 Academy Awards and is scheduled to be featured at more festivals in the near future.
“I have just come from smiling at a sea of photographers. I am very happy about this award. This might mean that we will get a Japanese distributer,” Benedikt told ruv.is on the phone from Tokyo. He added that the Japanese had been very impressed with the film.
Benedikt told Ásta Andrésdóttir in an interview in the latest issue of Iceland Review that with Of Horses and Men he wanted to “create a context; a multi-layered film. A portrait of the human being and the animal—and of the two together as a part of nature. A good story is entertaining, but also lingers within you, touching on your values and earning a place in your heart.”
In the interview Benedikt also commented that in a way, the film is an ode to the tourist, “that beautiful flower in Iceland’s flora. To me, anyone who loves Iceland is an Icelander, its current inhabitants as well as the hundreds of thousands who visit it every year, viewing it with fresh eyes. Originally, Icelanders were political refugees; even the Icelandic horse is an immigrant.”