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Member of the Month – Freyja Kristinsdottir

Freyja Kristinsdottir is a wonderful filmmaker who has been very engaged with Lift-Off since winning a live screening at London Lift-Off Film Festival 2019 and becoming a part of the Lift-Off Network. We appreciate and would like to celebrate Freyja's supportive and adventurous attitude and so caught up with her following her successes at Lift-Off Film Festivals and the Lift-Off Season Awards 2019.

What is your main aspiration within the film industry?

At the moment, I just love to work in this industry and I really love the diversity. One day I work as a cinematographer, the next as an editor, then assistant editor or DIT or PA or co-producer. I love all the different roles and by working this way I start to understand the film industry much better and it also helps with networking.

I used to work as a veterinarian, but I wasn't really happy doing that... I wanted to take some time off and do something completely different and took this 4 month long documentary film-making course. I immediately fell in love with filmmaking, and I haven't looked back since. I'm just so happy to work in this creative environment with adventurous people, so, I don't really care what I'm doing as long as I'm working in the industry. But I guess eventually I will focus on being an editor, and possibly direct another documentary if I come across an interesting topic.

Please could you tell us a bit about your film 'UNDERDOG'?

In a picturesque cottage in Norway, an Icelander and his family prepare to move back to the home country. Suddenly the move comes to an unforeseen halt as the family dog Rjómi (Cream) is banned from entering the country for what seems to be a misunderstanding. Determined not to leave their companion behind, the family is stranded and Rjómi‘s owner, Hilmar, embarks on a fight with the authorities.

Underdog is a typical "David vs Goliath" story but keeps the viewer engaged and surprised all the way through. Being a veterinarian I immediately connected to this story when I heard about Hilmars battle. I also love investigative thriller-like documentaries and I had a strong vision for this documentary. The documentary was two years in the making and I didn't know how the story would end - the end actually came as a surprise to me. I shot the last scene about 2 months before the premiere, and I think the ending really made the film so much better. That is the thrill with documentary making: you never know what you are going to get.

What has your experience been with Lift-Off?

My experience with Lift-Off has been amazing, better than I ever imagined. When I was applying for festivals on FilmFreeway, I kept an eye out for scam festival that are just there to take your money. There are a few of them out there, unfortunately. One day I was listening to a podcast interview with either James or Ben. I found it really interesting and found out that Lift-Off Global network was a cool idea with real festivals. So I decided to apply for a few of their festivals. I didn't get into the first one, and the second one I got into the online festival competition. I ended up winning that, which was great because the prize was official selection for London Lift-Off Film Festival 2019. I attended the London festival, not knowing the standard of the films, and I was pleasantly surprised; they were all really good. A few days later I found out my film was nominated to Lift-Off Season Awards, which was a huge honour and it was great to attend such a grand award ceremony at Pinewood Studios. So it has been a fantastic journey.

I attended a Members Day in London, the day before my film was screened. That was great, both networking with other filmmakers, and getting feedback from Ben and James about marketing and things like that. That was really cool and you feel like you are a part of a community now that you can reach out to when you need it. I'm also interested in the Production Accelerator, I've already signed up for that, but haven't had the time to take a proper look at it. But I will do very soon, so that's something I can look forward to.

Is there anything you would like to promote?

UNDERDOG is not out yet but, for those who are interested, they can follow Underdog's Facebook page. I will post there as soon as it's available to the public.