I selected Unnur during an Icelandic Airlines flight, not knowing it was an award-winning Chris Burkard Studio production and unaware that I would be desperately attempting to dry my tear-filled eyes by the end of the film. The video follows Elli Thor, an Icelandic surf photographer, as he strives to balance living close to nature with raising his young daughter, Unnur. “Being a parent brings up so much uncertainty,” he says. “You just try to navigate it the best you can.”
This film leans into the intimate moments between father and daughter: photographs captured in the past, walking across the sand with surfboards in hand, Thor carrying a sleeping Unnur into their A-frame cabin in the woods. It’s an ode to all parents, fathers and daughters, and those whose best time is spent outdoors. Chris Burkard’s signature cinematic surf shots grace the narrative, blending a compelling and heartfelt story with stellar imagery.
The cinematography is raw and moody, the perfect complement to Iceland’s cold winds, pummeling waves, and snow-kissed mountains. Thor drives across the island to catch perfect waves, recalling his own adventurous childhood, filled with treks across icy rivers, snow crossings in a Hilux, and family camping trips in Iceland. But a near-death experience while kayaking a dangerous waterfall made him question whether he had anything important to offer. Then, along came Unnur. “Like my parents did, I share my passion with her in hopes that she’ll grow the courage to do life’s hardest thing: choose our own path, not the one society chooses for her. If I can do that, I’ll go to the grave a happy man.”
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