08. CHAIN NYC FILM FESTIVAL

I headed down to Long Island City for TYRFING’s festival debut last night at the Chain NYC Film Festival. The venue is a black box performing arts venue.  There’s a staged reading parody of Die Hard With A Vengeance following the festival block, talk about meant to be.

The screening was a great success. The film was scheduled in a fantasy block with Helio, Into The Dark, and Blood Type all awesome in their own right, check ‘em out and give ‘em a follow.

Watching my own work always make me squirm, but seeing it on the big screen was truly something. The eye visual taking up an entire wall, Orvar-Odd grieving with the snow cloud billowing, so freakin’ cool.

After the screening, there was an off the cuff Q&A Talk Back session. Up first was Lukas Hassel filmmaker of Into The Dark. He was composed, informative, and entertaining. He’s also the spokesperson for the Danish and Swedish Tourist Board, sorry for all of the mis-pronunciations Lukas. I was called up to the stage next, I fashion myself a ranter, a heckler, but not much of a public speaker. My buddy Andrew works right around the corner and accompanied me to the screening (thanks buddy, you’re a trooper.) His two cents “Steve, you were amusing as hell but try to make some eye contact buddy.” Just shoegazing up there.

Continued number one compliment, the costumes and the look. (“But, that’s two things”. Get off my back! The people have spoken!) That’s all Eric Propp (Orvar-Odd, co-producer, and costume designer) and Ryan Bennett’s (director of photography) fault. Nice job fellas! Your dropping jaws. 

Anywho, fun party times. Thanks to Chain NYC for the fantastic experience, the cast & crew for all of their hard work and to everyone for the continued support. Jersey City here we come.


07. SOUNDTRACK

My buddy David Fernandez (aka Martin Miggs) composed all of the music for TYRFING. The entire killer soundtrack is up on Soundcloud. Check it out, it rules. 

TYRFING Soundtrack

Not only did Dave compose the music, he also worked as the Sound Editor (mixing the entire film) and acted as an extra playing one of the Sons of Arngrim. I couldn't be happier with the results, it's an epic soundtrack on par with Krull. (That's high praise, James Horner, c'mon!) 

When devising the film, the eclipse was the symbol that called to me. It's at the crux of TYRFING and what I used to represent the cyclical nature of violence. I wanted a noise, a sound, that  hammered home the message. Every time I called back to the eclipse (to violence), I wanted a blood-curdling, haunting creeping drone. After a series of conversations and some trial and error, Dave created the sound that I was envisioning. He titled the track Bone (because violence is in our very marrow... or because he likes to bone.)

My favorite track is Unyielding. I needed a track for the credits, a track that encapsulated the essence of the film.  He nailed it. Unyielding hits hard, like it's the start of a fantasy epic and we only witnessed the first chapter. 

Thanks Dave. 

 

06. Angantyr

Depending on the legend you’re reading Angantyr is a hero or a villain, but isn’t it all one in the same? His life revolved around murder, pillage and mayhem, so it all depends on the spin. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. (Go blow up the Death Star you religious zealot! “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” - Han ‘Atheist’ Solo.) 

Arngrim (from blog 01, is anyone reading these?) had 12 sons and he passed along the sword Tyrfing to his eldest, Angantyr, and Angantyr was a silverback, an apex predator. These boys ran wild, terrorizing the seas. The Sons of Arngrim were running the Holmgang/Nith scam, taking advantage of weaker territories, rampant piracy (from blog 04 & 05, c’mon!). Hjorvard, Arngrim’s little brother, using his psycho brother as muscle, swore he would win the hand of the King of Sweden’s daughter, Ingeborg. This brought the Sons of Arngrim face to face with Hjalmar and Orvar-Odd. 

Angantyr, the Bear/Beast, (played be Dave Rich) is the third step in the Tyrfing Cycle. He’s bored with life. Battle, from which his life revolved, no longer amuses him. He started out his tale just like Hjalmar, but he’s achieved the ultimate weapon and now it all comes just too easy to him. Think Rambo in Rambo (the fourth one) only he’s a sociopath, just going conflict to conflict hoping for a challenge but only finding slaughter. He still craves the high of bloodshed, but he doesn’t reach the same pinnacles as his earlier days. "There are no more heroes." (A quote from somewhere I forgot to annotate… um… let’s say Flash Gordon, this isn’t a term paper, get off my back!) Angantyr orchestrated the Duel on Samso to challenge Hjalmar’s second, Orvar-Odd, whom he considers an equal. But to his surprise, it’s Hjalmar who will give him that buzz he’s been itching for. (Also, THE BEAST Angantyr is me riffing off of Glossu Rabban from Dune, best moniker of all-time, The Beast Rabban or “The Beast from the East” Bam Bam Bigelow. Take your nerdy pick, sci-fi novels or wrestling.)

05. Nith

You couldn’t refuse a duel in these ancient times or you would be considered a nith. And a nith is the worst thing you could be in this era. You’d be labeled a coward, an oathbreaker. (You could also possibly be magic and a homosexual, Boogedy boogedy boo!) If found to be a nithing, you’d be immediately exiled, “no one was allowed to protect, house or feed the outlaw. He had to seek shelter alone in the woods like a wolf.” Your wife would be considered a widower, pretty heavy stuff, not only are you dead to me, your dead to your whole town and everyone you know.

The shame of being a nith was so ingrained in the culture of that time, scoundrels used the threat of Holmgang, and the fear of being branded a Nith to their unscrupulous advantage. Stronger than your neighbor? What’s to stop you from showing up at his doorstep and challenging him to a duel? The choices- accept, die and loose all your stuff or runaway, be labeled a nithing and loose all your stuff. Piracy through shaming was rampant.

04. Holmgang

Holmgang was formalized viking dueling. Got beef? Let’s holmgang! But hold up a sec tough guy, we’re not a bunch of wild men! There’s rules God dammit! Before each duel, and since it was a incredibly honor bound society, the combatants would lay out the rules. “What weapons are we using? Will you bury me with my weapons? What do I get if I win?” Essentially, ritualistic smack talk before the fight.

Loosely translated Holmgang means, a walk on a small island, and on a small island is where the duel were traditionally contested, “Hey! You’re a jerk! Let’s go over to that small island and bash each others’ brains out.” - Some pissed Norwegian guy.

03. Orvar-Odd

Orvar-Odd (The Arrow’s Point) the Far-Traveler is an immortal Norwegian hero. The son of a chieftain, a volva (kinda like a Norwegian witch or medicine man) predicted his horse, Faxi, would kill him in the place he was born. Being a sensible sort of fellow (i.e.: viking lunatic) he lopped off his horse’s head, buried it, kissed his mom goodbye and split. Thus began, Orvar-Odd’s life of endless wandering and adventure (i.e.: hell-raising). He went to Ireland, knocked up a sweet Irish girl and hijacked an impenetrable magic shirt made by fairies for his trouble. Along the way, he scores some super kill arrows, Gusir’s Gift. The arrows never miss (and usually blast people right through their eyeballs) and always return to whomever fired it (which sounds mad dangerous, good thing he’s immortal.) He also knocks up a giant and gets in frequent drunken brawls with his half-blood giant son. You know, just typical Viking stuff. (Ride the Maelstrom in EPCOT, it’ll fill you in. Wait! You can’t. It’s gone forever. Thanks Olaf!)

As his reputation grows, upstart warriors sought him out to prove their worth, upstarts like Hjalmar. The two have an epic two day bloodbath, with neither man gaining the advantage. Orvar-Odd is so enamored with the kid’s moxie, they become blood brothers and begin bro-ing around together. (If one was Han Solo, the other was Chewbacca. If one was Riggs, the other was Murtaugh. Axe-wielding buddy cops.) Orvar-Odd is Hjalmar’s brother-in-arms for the Duel on Samso.

In the film, Orvar-Odd, the Wolf, (played by Eric Propp) is the next step in the Tyrfing Cycle. He’s at the top of his game, the apex viking hero, which make him a bit conceited. Being the Far-Traveller, he has untraditional armor and weaponry, a katar for example, and is a bit of an eccentric. 

02. Hjalmar & Ingeborg

The shadow of the cursed blade Tyrfing loomed over the doomed Swedish lovers Hjalmar & Ingeborg. Hjalmar is a housecarl, a medieval bodyguard for Yngvi, King of Sweden. Though lowborn, Hjalmar and Yngvi’s daughter, Ingeborg, were madly in love. Yngvi disapproved of the match and awaited for a better suitor to arrive upon his shores. Enter the berserk raiders, Angantyr and the Sons of Angrim.  

In the film, Hjalmar the Brave, the Dog, (played by Andrew Rakich) is the first step in The Tryfing Cycle. Impetuous. Fool hardy. Cocky. Hjalmar has no fear and seems like he has a death wish because of it. Cocky, because he’s undefeated in battle and he’s made his way up from nothing. Born a farmer, he’s fought for everything he has.  His only natural talent  is murder  (“I do it real good, you know. It's the only thing I was ever good at." - Martin Riggs, Lethal Weapon.) He cuts a club out of a piece of driftwood to duel the Beast Angantyr, he’s that cocky, “I’ll beat you with a stick.” He believes in himself, not “magic” swords. Hjalmar has a smart mouth and little respect for anyone who tells him what to do. He loves Ingeborg with the same reckless abandon he lives his life. Since he is denied her, it makes him more determined to win her.

01. The Tyrfing Cycle

TYRFING, the short film, is a glimpse of the two-fisted tales found in Norse mythology. This blog, will delve into the myths that provided the inspiration and backstory for the film.

Forged by the dwarves Dvalinn and Durin for King Svaflmai, grandson of Odin (like in Roman mythology, heroes could trace their lineage back to Gods), Tyrfing is death to all who face it and doom to all who wield it. As the sword was unbreakable, victory would be sure for whomever commanded the steel. But, the dwarves cursed the blade before returning to whence they came, it would kill a man every time it was unsheathed, it would cause three great evil deeds, and it would be the death of Svaflmai.

The dwarves curse held true, Svaflamai met his end while defending his kingdom from a viking raid. The berserker Arngrim hacked off Svaflamai’s arm, took the cursed sword and beheaded him with his own weapon. Arngrim took Svaflamai’s life, his kingdom and his daughter (who he had twelve sons with, Arngrim was a man of extremes.) Angantyr, Arngrim’s eldest son, was gifted the sword and continued in his father’s profession. (Job description: sail around and murder everyone.)

Angantyr’s duel with the Swedish hero Hjalmar on the Isle of Samso, the first great evil deed of the dwarves’ curse, is where this film begins.