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A film funded by Icelandic volcano

Mumbai, Nov 19 (IANS) In April 2010, volcanic ash from the eruption of the hard to pronounce Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, threw global airline traffic and business into disarray, causing billions of dollars worth of losses. One man, however, was n

2011-11-19T12:05:00Z
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Mumbai, Nov 19 (IANS) In April 2010, volcanic ash from the eruption of the hard to pronounce Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, threw global airline traffic and business into disarray, causing billions of dollars worth of losses. One man, however, was not so sad by the turn of events.

He was the only daredevil to fly over the volcano for four consecutive days and shoot photos and videos that the world got to see. The result of these dangerous excursions is a lovely little short film, 'In A Heartbeat', being screened at the Golden Elephant 17th International Children's Film Festival, India (ICFFI), in Hyderabad. The man who shot these videos and produced the short film, Jon Gustafsson, is in the country.

'It happened by accident. I was volunteering for the Helicopter Service of Iceland and we happened to be on air when Eyjafjallajokull erupted. Whenever I am on the air, I carry a camera to shoot the beautiful landscape. So I shot Eyjafjallajokull. The moment we landed, the entire airspace was closed down and no one could go in. I ended up having the only footage and photos of the volcano for the day which I sold to some newswire service and made good money,' Jon told IANS of the first day of his tryst with the volcano.

The second day, however, was a different ballgame. Realising that if anyone had a shot at getting footage, it was him, he and a friend stayed in a village near the volcano and went to the police station the next day. Instead of asking for permission to go shoot the volcano, Jon did a smarter thing.

'I asked the police head 'If you are in charge here, don't you get to see the volcano?' That left the man in thought. Next moment, we offered to fly him there and he instantly agreed. So while he looked at the volcano, I shot it,' recounts Jon with a smile on his face.

For the next three days, this is what he did: 'It was fun for the first two days. The thrill of doing something was a big high. But on the third day the danger dawned on me. I was hanging 7,000 feet with a camera in one hand over a live volcano. I wondered why I was doing it and whether the money that I made was worth the danger,' says Jon.

Well, what he made from that money, perhaps is.

Jon's wife had written a story for a short film and that was what the money from the volcano shots was used for.

'She was pregnant and we knew that for at least the next two years she'd be out of work because she'd be taking care of our child. So, we decided to make the film with the money. It was my gift to her,' says Jon.

The film, 'In A Heartbeat', directed by wife Karolina Lewicka, is a beautifully and poetically shot seven-minute short film about a sad, young girl who does not fit in with her peers. The film does not have any dialogues but is peppered by a haunting melody. It has already done the rounds of 17 festivals and has won three awards so far. It is also running in competition at the ICFFI.

(Satyen K. Bordoloi can be contacted at [email protected])

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