Eggert Ketilsson "Enhancing With The Elements"

Eggert Ketilsson is a well-known production designer, art director and a special effects supervisor from Island. His latest job as supervising art director on Christophers Nolans, Dunkirk (2017), is the third film Ketilsson works on with Nolan after previous co-operations on Batman Begins (2005) and Interstellar (2014). He has worked on other well-known films, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Rider (2001), Prometheus (2012) or Rouge One: A Star Wars Story (2016).

He was born and raised in Iceland and after ten years of film work he went to study at the The Northen Film School, in the United Kingdom, where he got a production designer´s post graduate diploma.

His film career started in 90´s. He was a part of the art department and also special effects supervisor for Devils Island (1996) by FriðrikÞór Friðriksson. A bitter sweet comedy filmed in the Grótta area of South west Iceland tells the story of families living in barracks, left by the US Army in Reykjavik at the conclusion of World War II. Ketilsson and Friðriksson have worked together on two other films - On Top Down Under (2000) and Mamma Gógó (2010).

Ketilsson also has worked as a production designer including Drum (2004), One Point O (2004), Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (2009), an epic tale about a group of whale watchers; Desember (2009); Rokland (2010) or Our own Oslo (2011). 

One of the breaking moments in Ketilsson´s career was his work as an art director of Icelandic part on Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001). This was the start of Ketilsson´s work on Hollywood blockbusters. In 2005 Ketilsson started to collaborated on Batman Begins – where a part was filmed in Iceland. Ketilsson joined as the art director of this part and that is how he came to know Nolan and his designer Nathan Crowley. Some years later Nolan and Crowley scouted Iceland for the planetary locations for his film Interstellar (2014) and asked Ketilsson to join as the art director for the planet section of the film.

His experience of working with sets facing the elements of nature, play one of the reasons Nolan wanted him to join Dunkirk (2017). Ketilsson said: "The decision to film on the actual location where the events took place in Dunkirk, was both challenging and very helpful. In addition to filming in France, we shot in Urk IJsselmeer in Holland, Weymouth and Swanage, South England. The vast majority of filming was done on location, with a very brief shoot utilizing a sound stage in Los Angeles. The size of the art department included a construction crew of approximately 50 personnel in the beginning, but reached 120 at the peak of construction in France."   

 

"For the movie, thousands of soldiers had to be made out of cardboard to make the coast appear to be trampled by soldiers."

Ketilsson about Dunkirk


Except his good collaboration with Nolan, Ketilsson has worked with other well-known directors. He was a Special Effects Director on Faust (2011) by Alexander Sokurov. Russian film which won the Golden Lion at the 68th Venice International Film Festival is free interpretation of the Faust legend and its respective literary adaptations by both Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as well as Thomas Mann.

Ketilsson has also continued collaboration on Hollywood sci-fi and fantasy blockbusters. He was Icelandic Special Effects Supervisor on Prometheus (2011) by Ridley Scott, Thor: The Dark World (2012) or Transformers: The Last Knight (2017). He also cooperated on Icelandic part of shooting on Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) by J.J. Abrahms and Star Wars part called Rouge One: A Star Wars Story (2016).