On Wednesday, Jan. 27 2016, Reyka Vodka presented the New York Premiere of Cohen Media Group’s new film “Rams.” The special screening was held at Landmark Sunshine. Celebrity guests in attendance included Tom McCarthy, Terry George, Charles and Clo Cohen, Hlynur Gudjonsson (Icelandic Consul General of New York), Mukunda Angulo, Thomas Matthews, Wayne Wilderson, Ben Rosenfield, Wesley Taylor, Crystal Moselle, and Samantha Urbani.
“Rams” takes place in a secluded valley, where viewers meet brothers (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson). They live side-by-side tending to their prized ancestral sheep stock. There’s one problem though, these brothers haven’t spoken in 40 years. When a deathly disease hits town, the authorities declare that all of the sheep must be disposed of. The tragedy brings the brothers together as they attempt to save the special breed of sheep that their family raised for generations. New York Times reporter Mekado Murphy moderated a conversation with director Grimur Hakonarson at the special screening.
“It’s based on a true story, a story my father told me. There were the two brothers living in the north of Iceland, and they fell in love with the same girl when they were young. And she didn’t want them, and they kind of blamed each other for it because they both thought they had a good chance. And they had no siblings, so they had to live on the same land. They built two farms next to each other, and there were no windows on the walls between the two houses. Also they built a fence, a quite high fence between the two farms like in Rams. In the true story the brothers didn’t reconcile in the film, so it was a quite sad story. Yeah, I thought that story was interesting and maybe described our national character a little bit. There a lot of people that are a bit stubborn, and the stubborn sheep farmer is a classic character in our literature. ‘Rams’ is not the first time someone is writing or making a film about this concept,” Hakonarson shared with the audience.
He continued that he spent more time casting the sheep than actors! “We visited several farms and most of the sheep just ran away from us. Then we found these super calm sheep. They’re used to staying at home, they’re used to being around people. And that’s very important, because when you’re filming, there’s a lot of people, a lot of equipment, a lot of stress, and that was basically the key. I also had a sheep expert — a professional farmer. Most farmers are sheep experts. I had him with me throughout the whole process, and he would tell me if the sheep looked like a superior sheep or a good looking sheep. And today, after making this film, when I’m driving around Iceland and I see some sheep, I have opinions. I’m looking at the back muscles.”
Following a New York Times hosted screening and Q&A, guests headed down the street to The Late Late for Reyka infused cocktails and canapes. The 87 minute film hits theaters on Feb. 3.