Interview with Filmmaker Runar Thor Sigurbjornsson (HANN)

HANN was the winner of BEST FILM at the LGBT Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I knew I wanted to make a film that carried sentimental significance to me and I decided that I would create the film that I needed as a gay youth. Perhaps if I had seen this film as a teenager, I would not have delayed my coming out until I was 27 years old. My father was always my role model in life, a strong, masculine figure that I looked up to, and I was always afraid of the possibility that he would not want his son to be gay. However, on the day that I did come out, he surprised me by posting on his Facebook wall, which he rarely ever did, saying to all who could see how proud he was of his son for being true to who he was. It was then I realized that I had grossly misjudged my own father and I imagined many of us do. This is what inspired HANN.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

The entire period from conception to birth took a little over 9 months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Our story.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Perhaps my own inexperience. This being my first filmmaking project, I lacked much of the experience and knowledge normally found in a director. But, luckily, I’m a fast learner and I was able to surround myself with brilliant people, true professionals who made up for my own shortcomings, and helped me make my vision a reality.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was touching to see. With a film that has been limited to being published online since it came out, you rarely get to watch an audience experience it or hear them talk about it, so seeing these people give their honest feedback on the film was incredibly rewarding and I admit I got a little choked up. Thank you.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

The story is pretty much inspired by my own coming out story and the relationship that I had with my own father. He is the inspiration for this film.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think that’s probably Happy Feet. When I was a struggling bartender, living in Canary Islands, in a small apartment with no internet, I only had a couple of downloaded films on my laptop. One of those was Happy Feet and I remember watching those penguins dance every time before bed for at least 2 months.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It makes things easy. It’s a modern way for filmmakers to get their films out to a range of different festivals and I appreciate that it’s there.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

That would definitely be Where’s My Love by SYML.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I am halfway through my new full feature script which has the working title “Rooftops”. It’s a film with a very similar theme as HANN but dives into a wider range of social issues and takes place in my current hometown, New York City.

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