rewind: iceland - may 2014 (updated 2019)

An uncensored, behind the scenes look at the making of Bokeh. Shot on location in Iceland.

filming on set at eyjafjallajökull glacier

filming on set at eyjafjallajökull glacier

I started creating this blog post for completely selfish reasons. I wanted a place which held all my favourite photos (and maybe a few written memories) from Bokeh’s principle photography. After an hour of organising my Icelandic photos, I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself.

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Quick recap: During May and June 2014, a small group of intrepid filmmakers travelled to Iceland. Our goal was to transform a script into a movie, titled ‘Bokeh’. With over 60 locations, in under two months and a non-stop schedule, we completed our goal.

bokeh

noun bo·keh 

“the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.”

I was hired as the script supervisor, “a member of a film crew who oversees the continuity of the motion picture including wardrobe, props, set dressing, hair, makeup and the actions of the actors during a scene”. This definition makes my job sound very easy and simple… if only it was that straightforward. It was a wonderfully demanding and rewarding experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

prepping for my next day’s scenes

prepping for my next day’s scenes

Now, the exciting part… Photos!

I have organised the pictures by filming location. All images are mine unless otherwise noted. Enjoy.


location: base camp, reykjavik

production headquarters, 50 Hag

production headquarters, 50 Hag

‘the sushi bodega’, our local corner shop

‘the sushi bodega’, our local corner shop

our WOW force one trailer which we took everywhere

our WOW force one trailer which we took everywhere

colourful buildings, city centre reykjavik

colourful buildings, city centre reykjavik

location: eyjafjallajökull glacier

prepping for our shoot on top of the glacier

prepping for our shoot on top of the glacier

lane and joe steady the camera tripod

lane and joe steady the camera tripod

our unstoppable sound team, shawn and aggi

our unstoppable sound team, shawn and aggi

maika tries to stay warm

maika tries to stay warm

literally walking above the clouds

literally walking above the clouds


location: krónan supermarket

This was either our first or second ‘all night’ shoot. We started at 8pm and finished eleven hours later. It was surprisingly easy to stay awake. But when 7am arrived, pretty sure most of the crew felt like ‘the walking dead’.

*Yup, Iceland was also obsessed with Fifty Shades of Grey.

3am sunrise, well… except for the fact the sun never completely set

3am sunrise, well… except for the fact the sun never completely set


location: airplane fuselage, sólheimasandur

My only memory of this location was that it was cold and windy, very windy. I had finally caught the flu that was being passed around (you would’t know it from the photo - see below). All I wanted was my bed, however sick days aren’t a thing when on a tight schedule.

maika poses between takes

maika poses between takes

me, script supervisor. just happy to be in iceland.

me, script supervisor. just happy to be in iceland.


random bts snapshots


location: black sand beach, reynisfjara

the crew begins to set for the scene

the crew begins to set for the scene

geoff tries to bring matt back to safety

geoff tries to bring matt back to safety

location: seljalandsfoss waterfall

This location was magical. Yes, it was cold and wet and our clothing didn’t dry for a week. But something about it was extraordinarily special.

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margaret, head of makeup and fx, preps maika before a scene

margaret, head of makeup and fx, preps maika before a scene


location: seljavallalaug, south iceland

I loved this location so much. It felt like a naturally secluded place until… I found out Justin Bieber had destroyed its secretiveness by using it in this video. Sigh.

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matt chats about the upcoming scene with directors, andy and geoff

matt chats about the upcoming scene with directors, andy and geoff


Outtake: 66° North

Sometimes, we got bored between takes. Case in point: Maika and Matt pretended to model for 66° North. This company has a very specific advertising campaign, see here or below. Anyone who has been to Iceland knows exactly what I mean and will find these photos amusing. ;)

P.S. They make very warm, durable outdoor clothing which was good, cause even in June it got a bit chilly.

the ubiquitous 66° North billboards

the ubiquitous 66° North billboards


location: grindavík

A small, sleepy fishing town that didn’t offer much in terms of entertainment (or anything for that matter). Maybe that’s why the crew resorted to taking selfies and dancing in between takes.

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mari, wardrobe assistant

mari, wardrobe assistant

the girls pose for a selfie

the girls pose for a selfie

liana’s drink of choice, chocolate milk

liana’s drink of choice, chocolate milk


location: krýsuvík, reykjanes peninsula

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End Notes

Once principal photography wrapped, we went on to successfully fund our Kickstarter campaign. This helped post-production costs and needs. Bokeh was released theatrically on 3 February 2017.

This may sound cheesy, but filming Bokeh made a huge impact on me. It made me realise the importance of travel, photography and adventure. That summer gave me a boost of curiosity that I didn’t have before. It helped me realise I had the courage to resettle in the U.K. It also has made me realise that the fear of failure still prevents me from many things I still want to achieve.

A wise man once told me,

"If you start when you feel ready, you are already way behind."

maika stands in a lupin field

maika stands in a lupin field

Bokeh Trailer

P.S. The full film is available internationally on Netflix. Go watch now.

signage, pakistan - january 2019

In my humble opinion, you can tell a lot about a country by its colours, fonts and graphics.

Pakistan gave me plenty of material to feast my eyes upon. There were no billboards, instead ads were painted directly onto walls. The signs were written in both Urdu and English. And colour, lots of colour, was mandatory. By the end of the trip, I was in some kind of visual paradise.

Everything was such a wonderful mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. I’ll let you judge for yourself…

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Just for fun:

A dance clip from one of my favourite Pakistani films, Ho Mann Jahaan (2016).