Paris-based Alief has secured international rights to Icelandic documentary “Band.”
Following its world premiere at HotDocs earlier this year, the film will now be shown in Haugesund’s New Nordic Films section, with an Icelandic premiere set for Nov. 4. Sena and Siminn handle Icelandic rights.
Directed by debuting helmer Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir, the melancholic yet humorous doc has already drawn comparisons to cult classic “Spinal Tap,” but it’s actually dedicated to her own band, The Post Performance Blues Band aka ThePPBB. Struggling to get some traction but bravely soldering on, all the while working on lyrics about “waffles and coffee” and playing in half-empty rooms in front of visibly stunned people.
“We are excited to jump on board Álfrún’s side-splitting verité musical, a true gem that effectively uses mockumentary storytelling in a believe-it-or-not, make-it-or-break-it tale of Iceland’s electro punk trio ThePPBB,” said Alief’s Miguel Angel Govea.
“I actually thought of ‘Band’ as a documentary pretending to be fiction. This ambiguity is exciting to me,” admitted Örnólfsdóttir before the film’s bow in Norway.
While she is not ruling out making a proper mockumentary in the future, she loves the grey area between the truth and a lie.
“In ‘Band,’ reality and fiction are so mixed up that I don’t always know if I am being completely honest or if the presence of the camera is influencing my behavior. I have always had a passion for immersing myself completely in a story and living inside of the world of the film or the play.”
Örnólfsdóttir, who also features in the doc, has been acting professionally since childhood. However, right now her focus is on writing and directing, she confesses. As well as exploring the concept of failure, which the band has been using as “creative fuel” right from the start.
“There is actually so much power in feeling like a loser,” she stated.
“When you do, you look for ways to change it and that leads you to a creative place. By talking about failure, you are also asking questions about success. They are the opposites, but actually go hand in hand.”
A filmmaker should always feel a compelling need to tell a particular story, she says.
“At the heart of any good film there is a painful question or an important message that you are ready to spend years of your time to get across.”
That being said, Örnólfsdóttir will continue to look for humor in the darkest situations – also in her upcoming fictional project “Shitballs,” about a woman who loves plants more than humans.
“It just comes naturally [to me]. I guess it’s a way to avoid feeling depressed about all the shit that life brings. You always have a choice: to laugh about misfortunes or cry. I love absurd situations and anything outside the ordinary, a little bit of punk mixed with tenderness.”
While she and her bandmates have learned to stop worrying and love failure, or at least tried to accept it over the years, their situation might change in the future. Ironically enough, her film has finally introduced ThePPBB to a much wider audience – also outside of Iceland – with its unusual performance style and songs quickly winning over new fans.
“It’s too soon to know if the film will make The Post Performance Blues Band a household name. But so far, the reception has been outstanding,” noted Örnólfsdóttir.
“It’s wonderful to realize that the band resonates with audiences of different nationality, gender and age.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Alief on Álfrún’s energetic debut,” added producer Heather Compass of Compass Films.
“They shared their excitement and passion for the film and are definitely now fans of ThePPBB! We are certain that in their hands, the joy of ‘Band’ will be shared worldwide.”