A crowded house with cheerful Iceland fans

Friday, 31 March 2017

The opening night of the 14th 11mm Football Film Festival was a celebration of all things Icelandic. The three supremely relaxed celebrity guests – Icelandic Ambassador to Germany Martin Eyjólfsson, national coach Heimir Hallgrímsson, and filmmaker Saevar Gudmundsson – sketched the story of the national team’s rise and its incredible support back home. ‘Inside a Volcano’, regardless if the story it tells is almost two years old, infects the viewer with a contagious sympathy for the romantic underdogs of last year’s European Championships.

The film was preceded by a musical introduction from Icelandic singer/songerwriter Mr. Silla. Of course, as an Icelander, she’s well acquainted with the film’s protagonists: she’s worked together with goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson before, and she event went to school with Birkir Bjarnason. Hardly a surprise: Iceland has a population the same size as Coventry’s.

ARD Sportschau presenter Jessy Wellmer presented the evening, flipping with speed and charm from English to German, and adding a personal touch – her own unforgettable experience at the hands of Iceland’s national team during Euro 2016.