I first came to Iceland in 2015. It was a short trip, only a few days long, which I organized for my 32nd birthday. The following birthday, in 2016, I embarked on a solitary bike trip around Iceland. It was one of the biggest adventures of my life, and it allowed me to meet amazing people, appreciate Icelandic nature and get to know myself a little better. Every day I would share my experiences and thoughts in blog posts, as well as in pictures, on the Iceland News Polska website frequently visited by the Polish community living in Iceland.
Upon my return to Poland, I decided to write down my adventures in a book called "Ring Road: Around Iceland on a bicycle". My aim was to encourage people to set out on their own, similar journeys.
To keep it short – my stay on Iceland changed my life. The people who I met during my trip all shared some wonderful qualities, such as a great spirit, hospitality and warmth – the Poles as well as the Icelanders.
I decided to make another dream of mine come true and film my first documentary.
Through spring of this year, I circled the land of ice and fire once again, this time with a jeep and a camera.
I recorded breathtaking views, as well as conversations with my countrymen and women who all decided to make Iceland their home.
The heroes of my film came to Iceland in different years (from 1991 to 2017) and in different moments of life. They live in towns located at every part of the island: Stöðvarfjörður on the east fjords, Dalvík on the far north, Akranes on the west coast, Selfoss in the south, Vogar and Keflavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula and, of course, the capital of Iceland – Reykjavík.
They have various interests, views and professions. Marta is the editor-in-chief of Iceland News Polska, which connects the whole Polish community. Gregor runs his restaurant – á Gregor's – and his lamb is praised even by the Icelanders themselves. Maciek moved to Iceland from Cyprus and, starting from a food truck, he earned his own restaurant, which aspires to be the best place serving kebab in Reykjavik – Viking Kebab. Monika and Rysiek run the Arctic Wind Motel, which hosts travelers from around the world. They literally started from scratch doing the renovation all by themselves. Krzysiek and Mateusz decided to go in a different direction – using their experience in car mechanics, they set up the Ice Pol Car Rental company. Michał is filming, Magda is running around the Icelandic mountains, Piotrek is the author of the blog Icestory.pl and a book about Iceland, Sylwia takes pictures, Sonia is looking for interesting people through the Hidden People project, and Kasia and Grzesiek share their impressions of working on a farm via islandzkifarmer.pl
On 11 November 2017, at the Polish Embassy in Reykjavik, the premiere of my film took place, where all participants met – many for the first time – together with their relatives, joined by several friends and the President of the Polish Polonia Association – Witold Bogdański. The meeting was opened by Mr. Ambassador Lech Mastalerz, followed by a screening of the film, my short speech, after which the unofficial part began – full of discussions, anecdotes and memories – which lasted until late evening hours. This is how my fourth (and certainly not the last!) visit to Iceland ended.
Stay tuned for more information about the next ISOLAND screenings and festivals in 2018.
My first big documentary project – ISOLAND – about life of Polish emigrants on Iceland, will be shown on film and adventure festivals this fall/winter.
Runtime – 46:20
Director / Writer – Kuba Witek
Cinematography / Film Editing – Kuba Witek
Drone footage – Kuba Witek
Music – Łukasz SZATT Palkiewicz
English subtitles – Wiktoria Witek
AWARDS – Grand Prix for Best Movie on 10th Edition of MediaTravel Festival in Łódź 2017