Slow travel and filmmaking

When we first decided to leave Norway to explore the Faroe Islands, I decided that I needed a film & photography project. Something that would push us out the door and make us venture further - even on those days when you don't want to leave the house. This project became Faroetale, a short artistic documentary about the Faroe Islands. In this post I'd like to talk about how I used the slow travel mentality to find my perfect main character: Òlavur Hátùn. 

 Behind the scenes with Òlavur. 

Behind the scenes with Òlavur. 

Finding the right protagonist 

Faroetale is my first soft funded short film. I am a commercial photographer at heart, and making a non-commercial film is in many ways a big challenge. Trusting your instinct and using time to mold a film is new to me. I'm used to working under fast moving commercial pressures, and therefore not knowing where the film would take me was a big challenge. One of the biggest challenges was to find the right protagonist.

Who were they, and how would I find them?

 We stayed most of our time on Eysturoy and that became our safe place, but renting a house in Bøur turned out to be a game changer in my search for a protagonist.

We stayed most of our time on Eysturoy and that became our safe place, but renting a house in Bøur turned out to be a game changer in my search for a protagonist.

Stop worrying about unserttan things

The first thing I decided in my quest for a main character was to really trust my instincts. I needed to believe that all the unanswered questions were unanswered because I wasn't far along enough in my own process for those questions to have found an answer. It sounds a bit strange, but what it meant to me was that I stopped desperately searching. Instead we traveled, camped, fished and we saw new places. I filmed everywhere we went and this way I collected the landscape material that will later become an important part of the finished film.

Slow adventures enabled me to film

This way of  going slow let my unconsciousness develop new ideas and somehow connect people and place in a better way. Somedays we left the house to reach a place that interested us and I would just film as we went along. Other times we would get up early, pack our bags and head out into the rain, just because I needed to film a certain place. Svínoy was a place like that, it is the island where Ólavur was born and a place I just had to film before Christmas, when the winter storms came thundering in. You can read more about this exposed place in our post: At the edge of Faroe: Svínoy.  By doing this with an open heart I finally found someone who could help me. His name was Heini Hátún. We rented his family house in Bøur (a village on Vágar) through Airbnb.

 Thea photographed by Mark on the way up Slættaratindur, the highest mountain on the Faroe Islands. We hiked this mountain three times to get the right weather conditions for filming. 

Thea photographed by Mark on the way up Slættaratindur, the highest mountain on the Faroe Islands. We hiked this mountain three times to get the right weather conditions for filming. 

Getting to know a place, a son and a father 

Our slow travels took us to Bøur, the most beautiful village on the Faroe Islands. A stunning location with friendly people (and the sheep dogs - they are everywhere!). We came to Bøur for the views, the walks and the beauty of it all. Heini understood straight away what kind of person I was looking for, and he introduced me to his father within a week. When I first met Heini's father, Òlavur Hátún, he gave me a good feeling the moment he walked in the door. He was a cheerful man with a strong handshake. He is curious and in many ways our appetite for life is similar. We are both always looking for exciting opportunities where we can grow. 

A natural storyteller

Òlavur has lived on multiple places around the Islands and he really knows the Faroes. What I find even more interesting is that he is such a great storyteller, and you can really feel his passion for the green mountains and the people who live here.

 Still image from Faroetale. Thea and Òlavur in mid conversation.  Bøur, Faroe Islands. Photo by Rógvi Rasmussen.

Still image from Faroetale. Thea and Òlavur in mid conversation.  Bøur, Faroe Islands. Photo by Rógvi Rasmussen.

Let's Go Slow for better filmmaking

I am so grateful that I got to know Òlavur and that I can announce that he is my main character in Faroetale. I am also very happy to have found a way to use travel to meet new people and places, and create interesting film and photography. Letting go of the sense of control and encouraging slow travel thinking has really helped my creative flow.

 Rògvi Rasmussen is a brilliant Faroese film photographer working with Thea Hermansen on Faroetale. Here he is filming Òlavur in Bøur. 

Rògvi Rasmussen is a brilliant Faroese film photographer working with Thea Hermansen on Faroetale. Here he is filming Òlavur in Bøur. 

 Òlavur Hàtùn - the main character in Faroetale

Òlavur Hàtùn - the main character in Faroetale