‘Out of Thin Air’ has its World Premiere at Hot Docs
‘Out of Thin Air’, Dylan Howitt’s debut feature documentary, will have its world premiere at the prestigious Hot Docs Documentary Festival in Toronto in May 2017.
Out of Thin Air is constructed from archive, interviews and stunning dramatic reconstruction shot by the most revered Icelandic cinematographer Bergsteinn Björgulfsson, evocatively evoking the 1970s period feel. It was an extraordinary journey to work on this ambitious tale as the film editor. The events that span 40 years are steeped in mystery, rumour and conflicting opinion, and the case is still very much alive in the Icelandic social consciousness. So the challenge from day one was to do justice to both historical facts as well as the real people whose life story this is, while distilling the narrative down to a neat 85 minutes. The result is a tight psychological thriller, which explores themes of memory, truth and imagination and begs the question: Did the murders ever happen or was it all in their imagination?
Chris McDonald, President of Hot Docs writes: “Every Icelander knows about this case.” By all appearances, 1970s Iceland was a bucolic country of farmers and fishermen. It was an isolated place with magical landscapes and romantic associations, where everyone was related and life was crime free.
When two men disappear under suspicious circumstances and foul play is suspected, the police blame the arrival of hippies, drugs and the counterculture. Determined to quash growing public hysteria, state prosecutors and the police respond with multiple arrests, coercive interrogation techniques and brutal prison conditions. Amazingly, after four decades and multiple convictions, this infamous murder case is still being tried, debated and re-examined.
This taut psychological thriller incorporates archival footage, personal diaries, false confessions, dramatic recreations, wrongful convictions and multiple narratives to explore the most intense criminal investigation in Iceland’s history.
Out of Thin Air will be broadcast by BBC’s premier documentary strand Storyville as well as RUV over the summer, followed by the worldwide release on Netflix.
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