The History of the Iceland Defense Force from 1951 to 2006
For 55 years a foreign armed force was stationed in Iceland under the auspices of NATO and had a lasting effect on the culture, politics and economy of the Icelandic people.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, relations between the former allied eastern and western powers deteriorated fast. Suddenly, the small island nation found itself in the midst of the ensuing “cold-war”, which it used to its full benefit to catapult into the modern world. A founding member of the NATO alliance, Iceland provided an important base for forward operations in protection of NATO’s northern flank and Scandinavia and the approaches to North America by U.S. and allied forces.
The Cold War had a profound effect on Iceland’s economy and culture and reverberated in the national political arena. All the political parties, whether for or against, did their best in utilizing the military presence and related controversies to their benefit. Allegations of corruption and treachery rang loud in the constant debate over the Keflavik base which represented the country’s 6th largest town and the principal international airport.
Three years in the making, this documentary tells the story of the American military presence at the NATO base at Keflavik International Airport from 1951 until the base was closed in 2006. The filmmakers traveled to the United States, the U.K. and all around Iceland to document this interesting period in Iceland’s history. They talked to historians, politicians and people that worked on the base and using the research of military historian Fridthor Eydal put together this illuminating documentary about the US presence, what they were doing and the impact it had on Iceland, its people and culture.
KAM film had made a documentary about the life on the base in 1992 with Konrad Gylfason directing and Guðbergur Davidsson as the DP. Fridthor Eydal was at the time the public relations officer of the Defense Force so it was fitting that the three would join forces in telling this cold war story.
The documentary premiered at The Nordische Filmtage Lübeck Film Festival in Germany on November 2nd 2018.
You can watch the documentary on Vimeo-on-Demand.
Árni Þór Hilmarsson
Gunnar Þór Bjarnason
Jacob “Jake” Frank
Jóhann Dagur Egilsson
Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson
Paul J. St. Laurent
Robert “Bob” Walker
Robert G. Loftis
Samuel J. Cox
Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson
Teitur Ólafur Albertsson
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Örn Marinó Arnarson
Oddur Hreinn Sveinsson
Birgir Tryggvason – hljod.is
COLOR GRADING & ON-LINE EDITING
BASED ON RESEARCH BY
IN CO-OPERATION WITH
The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV)
WITH SUPPORT FROM
The Icelandic Film Fund
Ministry of Industries and Innovation