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Photo Courtesy Bedroom Community
 
When an organization has over a hundred and twenty-five years of history behind it, there’s surely going to be an interesting story to tell. So went my reasoning when I pitched a documentary film on the long saga of the very newspaper you’re reading right now.
 
MTS, the organization receiving my pitch, is the Manitoba Telephone System, but they also run a TV network, and because of a little-known codicil in their telecommunications license they finance and broadcast documentaries on Manitoba-centric subjects.

Evidently L-H fit that bill, because the next thing I knew, I was elbow-deep in research on the newspaper’s illustrious past.
 
Of course I was familiar with much of the story already, having spent some time as the editor of the paper myself. But to make a comprehensive and accurate movie it was important to move well beyond my own experience and knowledge of the organ and to enlist the help of experts, associates and previous editors, as well as contributors and just plain readers.
 
The resulting movie is simply titled The Icelandic Paper. If it had been called “The Saga of Lögberg-Heimskringla” or something along that line, it no doubt would be mistaken for a foreign film more often than not, and dutifully ignored by many people who might otherwise enjoy a local tale such as this. The interviewees range from well-known personalities such as filmmaker Guy Maddin and good-time rock-and-roller John K. Samson to historian Nelson Gerrard and current editor Joan Eyolfson Cadham. There is also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from the increasingly famed Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson.
 
The film was shot in a fairly wide-ranging array of locations for a small-scale doc-umentary: Winnipeg, Gimli, Riverton and several areas in Iceland, including the famed Þingvellir, home of the actual Lögberg itself. The Icelandic scenes stand out in the film as they are black-and-white, and I must here admit that this was the result of a camera malfunction rather than an aesthetic decision. I think it actually worked out quite well, and I think you’ll agree that the mothership looks just as beautiful in monochrome as it does in full colour. In any case, a little black and white is always appropriate for an historical documentary, since, as I’ve  been informed by some of my older relatives, the world itself was not colourized until some time in the mid-1950s.

It is my hope that the movie will help spread the word in some small way about this remarkable community newspaper, at least throughout Manitoba, where it will be broadcast on demand through the MTS network beginning in early summer. It will have its world premiere as a part of the Núna (now) festival when it screens (along with the Bedroom Community film Everything Everywhere All The Time, see sidebar) at Winnipeg’s glorious Cinematheque at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29. Tickets and additional information can be had by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bedroom Community hits the screen
The beloved Icelandic recording collective and record label Bedroom Community, several of whose members enthralled Winnipeg this past January as part of the New Music Festival, have hit the screen. Everything Everywhere All The Time, is an impressionistic film portrait of the label from director Pierre-Alain Giraud. The hour-long movie des-cribes in visually lyrical terms the creative process behind composers such as Ben Frost, Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon and BC founder Valgeir Sigurðsson.

Both Sigurðsson and Muhly had works performed in Winnipeg this past January as part of a special Bedroom Community evening held by the New Music Festival, and here is an opportunity to hear more of their music in the company of some beautiful Icelandic imagery and shots of the musicians at work in their Reykjavík recording studio. The film screens once only as a part of the Núna (now) Icelandic Canadian cultural convergence: it can be seen, along with the L-H documentary The Icelandic Paper, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29 at the Cinematheque in downtown Winnipeg. Fur-ther details may be found at nunanow.com, or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Núna (now) provides Icelandic entertainment to Winnipeg, Gimli, Riverton
The Núna (now) festival is stacked with Icelandic and Canadian treats again this year. The full schedule and all necessary information is available on the internet, but some of the highlights include the North American debut of The Island, the fantastic performance collaboration from Canadians Arne MacPherson and Freya Björg Olafson and Icelanders Friðgeir Einarsson and Ingibjorg Magnadóttir (June 1 and 2 at the University of Winnipeg’s Asper Centre for Theatre and Film); a night of musical entertainment at the First Lutheran Church in Winnipeg, featuring Iceland’s Lay Low, Toronto’s Leif Vollbeck and Winnipeg’s Christine Fellows (May 25); another such night at the Gimli Theatre in Gimli, featuring Lay Low, Vollbeck and local favourites Mise En Scene (May 27); and Debbie Patterson’s fantastic performance piece Sargent & Victor, a must for anyone interested in the history of Icelanders in Winnipeg, which can be experienced May 31 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. And there’s more on top of all this. Further details may be found at nunanow.com or on the Núna (now) Face-book page. Tickets may be booked by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

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