5Point Film Fest: ‘Unnur’
The Aspen Times
IF YOU WATCH…
What: ‘Unnur’ at at 5Point Adventure Film Festival
When: Program 2, Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
How much: Single program $20; All Access Passes $55-$75
More info: Thursday night’s program includes a total of 11 films. The festival runs through Sunday, Oct. 18.
Elli Thor had surfed big waves, survived a near-drowning after kayaking over a waterfall and had risen in the ranks of adventure photographers. But being a dad may be the most complex challenge he’s faced.
Thor’s path through the self-doubt of parenting is at the center of the 17-minute documentary “Unnur,” screening Thursday evening at the virtual 5Point Adventure Film Festival.
Directed by the famed American adventure photographer Chris Burkhard, “Unnur” is a gorgeously composed short that follows father and daughter through the remote and surreal landscapes of Iceland, where Thor is raising the girl on the water.
This idyllic life in an A-frame cabin, with Thor and Unnnur — named for a sea goddess from Iceandic lore — donning wetsuits and chasing waves under dramatic mountain peaks, is still filled with many of the anxieties of a more conventional parent-child relationship, it turns out.
“I knew when Unnur was born that a lot of things would change and there would be a lot of pressure to live a normal life,” Thor says at the outset, later adding: “We play in the ocean every day but I also worry about her missing out on the normal kid things.”
Thor aims to communicate his passion for nature, for surfing and for life outdoors to the girl, but also wonders if it’s enough as he photographs surf scenes.
“Some people think what I do is cool but a lot of people — including people in my own family — they think it is a complete waste of time,” he says.
Looking back on the kayaking accident that nearly killed him, Thor says “I sometimes wonder why I survived it. Do I have anything to offer? Maybe it’s her.”
The film was premiered by the virtual Tribeca Film Festival in September, signaling a crossover from the outdoor film community to mainstream cinematic audiences.
5Point head of programming Charlie Turnbull believes parents who have navigated the thorny challenges and choices for their kids during the pandemic will find a kinship with Thor and Unnur.
“With everything everyone has been through these last seven months, I think this film is really going to resonate,” Turnbull said.
Thursday evening’s 11-film program begins at 7 p.m. and will be hosted by songwriter and performer Russ Chapman.
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