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Small Icelandic town rallies behind Oscar nominee song

The writers behind the Oscar-nominated song “Husavik (My Birthplace)” knew they wanted it to be an emotional basis in Will Ferrell’s “Eurovision Song Contest.” But they had no idea how significant the ballad would be for the inhabitants of the small Icelandic town that got its name, especially given the fact that they had not yet visited. And last year, residents of Hasavik, a town of just 2,300 people, organized a major Oscar campaign on behalf of the song, accepting it as a de facto local anthem.

Children are taught this at school. It was sung in a local nursing home, in a church, and blown up over loudspeakers before football games. One of the board members is going to paint the main street of the Oscars on April 25 red (as a red carpet). Húsavík even thinks it will open the next day so residents can stay awake to watch the ceremony, which begins at 2 a.m. local time. time:

“It’s such a beautiful song about our city,” said lyrlygur Orlygsson, a local entrepreneur behind the campaign. “It simply came to our notice then. “People became optimistic that we would somehow overcome this.”

The song itself was a bit wild. Anyone who has seen director David Dobkin’s kind-hearted fake Eurovision song contest knows that he does not take it seriously. Hitting an honest ballad at the peak was a gamble.

“We were a little worried about reaching that one,” said Savan Kotecha, who co-wrote the song and directed the music. “The others were super funny, funny songs, high tempo. It was David’s dream to have this emotional moment at the end. “But he felt we had to earn.”

Kotecha, a Grammy-nominated composer-producer who has worked with Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Ellie Goulding, and Katy Perry, involved Richard Goranson in The Swedish Song Mafia, in which he collaborated on the Grande hit “Bang »With. Bang “Աստված” God is a woman “, Max Fat Max Gsus to help.

Goranson was sold at the mention of Will Ferrell, but he said that he և Max. “Like you said this was something we could deal with.”

None of them had ever written a song specifically for a music film before, but with the director, they enjoyed going back and forth. Here they were given the role of Rachel McAdams as Sigrit, an emotional showcase for her trip to Ferrell’s Lars. The vocals were provided by Swedish pop singer Molly Sanden.

“What we really wanted to do was really convey what he was feeling – what he was going to write in his solitary hours in his hotel room,” Gsus said. “I was facing some rejection at the time, I was in a kind of rude patch, so it was easy to address that emotion.”

Its effectiveness even changed the course of the scene.

“The initial idea was to have a comedic moment,” said Kotecha. “They did not know they would get a song that really speaks to the film.”

When the film hit Netflix last June, a few months after its worldwide cessation, it had its critics and supporters, but Hasavik’s people quickly became his most ardent fans. Yes, even with all those jokes about magic elves.

“We like to make fun of ourselves,” Erligson said. “We’re just glad Hollywood did that too.”

Although it was always a big deal to have a large Netflix production in their large North Coast city, it was COVID-19 that destroyed their core industry – tourism – and it gained additional potential. And when the film came out, Hasavik began to raise the profile of domestic visitors who were unable to travel abroad. Many cited the film as the reason for their visit. Almost immediately, lyrlygsson, who also runs a small hotel, opened the Jaja Ding Dong cafe on the rooftop outside in honor of one of the film’s most beautifully recurring songs, using capital letters at this time.

The song itself immediately became popular in the country. And the spark of “Eurovision” spread when “Husavik” appeared in the list of possible candidates for the author’s song earlier this year. The townspeople immediately went to work.

“We decided to do our best to help. We created a website, made a campaign video, “lyrlygsson said. “Many, especially the young people of the city, were very much involved.”

The video for “karskar Húsavík” has been viewed more than 70,000 times on YouTube, filmed in The New York Times, and on Good Morning America. It’s the kind of popular advertising standard that studios dream of. Netflix even thanks some of the film’s material for the exhibition at the local museum, including The Elf Knife.

The composers were by their side because the ballad was so important to the townspeople.

“It was kind of like declaring your love for someone, the moment when he actually reacts,” Gsus said. “It was like a fragile, butterfly love.”

The fact that he is now an Oscar nominee is simply surreal.

“Being a fan of movies, movies, everything, it’s so crazy, it’s amazing to be recognized in that world, because it’s a world I don’t usually live in,” Gsus added. “It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Goranson added that. “Just being on that list seems to benefit me.”

They are against “Do Not Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami”, “IoC (Seen)” from “Life Ahead”, “Fight for You” from “Judas և S Messiah” և “Hear My Voice” from the movie “The Chicago Trial 7”

Everyone’s Oscar nightclubs are in a bit of a hurry as the epidemic continues. Goranson is in Los Angeles, but Kotechan, Gsus are in Sweden, it was not clear how they were going to participate before this interview.

Hasavik people also do what they can, still maintaining the restrictions. Ideally, they would have a big city party. Now it’s probably just 10 or less gatherings.

And everyone knows that despite the effort and passion, anything can happen on Oscar night. But one thing is for sure. As soon as they can, Goranson, Gsus and Kotecha head to Hasavik.

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Follow AP filmmaker Lindsay Bahri on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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