NYFA Student Stars in Iceland’s Oscar Nom for Best Foreign Film


“Sparrows,” an Icelandic film that stars current New York Film Academy student Atli Oskar Fjalarsson, has been chosen by the Icelandic Film & TV Academy as Iceland’s submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the San Sebastian Film Festival.


The dramatic film is a very delicate, anthropic coming of age story about a 16 year-old boy who is forced to move away from his mother in the comforts of the city, to a tiny secluded fishing village in the middle of nowhere. There he must live with his father and try to fit into a rugged society of skewed social norms.

Ari is an innocent choir boy from the city. His life is turned upside down when he’s forced to leave his home and move to his father that he barely knows, in a place that he left behind a long time ago. It’s hard for him to find footing in this new environment where no one seems to understand or relate to him. Through a series of events, Ari is forced to grow up fast and make decisions that will shape his character forever.

“Rúnar Rúnarsson, the director, is an old friend of mine,” said Fjalarsson. “We did a short together when I was 14 years-old called “Two Birds” that went on to become a critically acclaimed festival gem, and to this date is one of the most awarded shorts ever made.”
A few years later, Fjalarsson reconnected with the director and the two began chatting about upcoming projects. It was at that time that Rúnarsson mentioned his film, “Sparrows,” which he was in the middle of casting for. At the time, Rúnarsson was having trouble filling some of the teenage roles.

“A few months later I did a commercial with Rúnar’s wife, where I shaved my beard clean and cut my hair,” recalled Fjalarsson. “Then the idea first came to light. He called me in for a meeting and took some pictures. He sent the pictures to his producers in Denmark and that was it. I got the part.”
Fjalarsson hopes the film will take people on a journey and show them a glimpse of a world that is unknown to them while still remaining completely relatable.
In addition to “Sparrows,”Fjalarsson is currently signed on for two features that are in development; one of them is French and the other one is American.

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Published on: September 27, 2016

Filled Under: Acting, International Diversity, Student & Alumni Spotlights

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