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1 item from 2016

'Rams' Composer Atli Örvarsson Wins Best Film Score at the 2016 Harpa Awards

18 February 2016 5:23 PM, PST | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Icelandic cinema scored one more victory at the 2016 Harpa Awards, which took place at the Nordic Embassies during Berlinale on February 15, 2016.  Composer Atli Örvarsson won the award for Best Film Score for the Icelandic film "Rams," while Johann Johannson took home the Honorary Award.

“The award for Best Film Score goes to a man with a unique sound,” said the jury who consisted of Thomas Robsahm, Konrad Sommermeyer and Christineauf der Haar.  “The accordion perfectly matches the loneliness, the nature and the sound of the sheep calling out for each other - the bleating. The music, the atmosphere and the pictures fit perfectly together. It feels as if the director and the composer really are in close contact – and telling their story together.”

Grímur Hákonarson's "Rams" took home the Un Certain Regard Award at last year's Cannes Film Festival and has since screened at numerous festivals around the world charming critics and audiences alike. Cohen Media Group released the film stateside earlier this month.

Read More: 'Rams' Director Grímur Hákonarson on Icelandic Pastoral Life and Casting the Right Sheep

Atli has worked with Hans Zimmer in Los Angeles for a number of years. Since moving back to his original hometown Akureyri in northern Iceland, he has scored a number of Hollywood films and TV series as well as Icelandic films. 
The film "Rams" was coincidentally shot in the remote countryside village where his mother grew up and is based on a true story about two elderly brothers living on the same farm and leading a very rural countryside life - but have not spoken to each other for many decades. 
Atli is the son of Iceland´s most distinguished accordionist Örvar Kristánsson who passed away last year. Atli created the score to a large degree using his father’s old accordion which is heavily featured in the score.

Atli’s credits include orchestrating and writing music for some of Hollywood’s biggest projects, including the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.  He has contributed music to films from "Angels and Demons" to "The Holiday. As a composer, Atli Örvarsson displays musical diversity throughout his action-film scores in "The Eagle," "Vantage Point," "Babylon A.D.," the Morgan Freeman caper "Thick as Thieves," "The Fourth Kind," and the Nicolas Cage medieval fantasy "Season of the Witch."  Atli’s most recent credits include "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," the dark and edgy film "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," the drama/thriller "A Single Shot" starring Sam Rockwell, the hit NBC series "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago Pd," and working with Hans Zimmer to contribute music to the Zack Snyder's Superman reinstallment "Man of Steel."

The Harpa Awards were invented in 2009. The aim was to put a spotlight on Nordic talent, skills and know-how and to promote the great Nordic film talents in music and acting for the international film industry and thereby strengthening the opportunities for cooperation between the Nordic countries and the international film market.  More information you can visit

Take a look at Örvarsson on the accordion in the video below.


- Sydney Levine

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