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Þráinn Bertelsson


Þráinn Bertelsson was born in Reykjavík on November 30, 1944. After graduating from high school in Reykjavik, he studied philosophy and psychology at The University College in Dublin from 1968 – 1970, and the same subjects at Université d’Aix-Marsaille from 1970 – 1972. He gradated with a degree in film theory and directing from Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden in 1977. After that Þráinn worked as a film maker for the most part until 1995, but he has also been a journalist, done television and radio programs, worked in a wine store, been a teacher, a worker at a fish factory and an office manager for an airline in Saudi Arabia, to name but a few. Þráinn was the editor of Þjóðviljinn newspaper in 1987 – 1988 and of the magazine Hesturinn okkar in 1990. Þráinn was elected to Parliament in 2009 and sat first for the Citizen’s Movement and later the Left-Green Movement, 2009-13.

Þráinn was chairman of The Writer’s Union of Iceland from 1992 – 1994 and was also chairman of The Association of Icelandic Film Directors for one year. He was one of the founders of the film company Norðan 8 and founded the film company Nýtt líf in 1982.

Þráinn has made numerous movies, among them the film about the twin brothers Jón Oddur and Jón Bjarni, based on Guðrún Helgadóttir’s very popular children’s books; the comedy Nýtt líf (A New Life) and others that followed in a series about the friends Þór and Danni. His movie Magnús was nominated for the Felix Awards (The European Film Awards), as the best film and for the best script in 1989. It also received the DV Cultural Prize in Iceland in 1990. Þráinn has also made films for television as well as numerous radio programs and a radio play. He sent forward his first book in 1970, the novel Sunnudagur (Sunday). Since then he has published several others, more novels, a children’s book, a biography about the popular comedian Laddi, a collection of his radio programs and the autobiographies Einhvers konar ég, also published in English as Myself & I in 2004 and Ég, ef mig skyldi kalla (A Sort of I) in 2008. He has also written the crime novels in the past few years, Dauðans óvissi tími (Uncertain Death) in 2004, Valkyrjur (Valyries) in 2005 and Englar dauðans (Angels of Death) in 2007.

Þráinn was awarded a special Honorary Award for his contribution to the Icelandic film industry in 2022.

Author photo: The Reykjavík Museum of Photography.