As programmer of Nordic films for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) since 1999, Gravestock is among today’s most influential international curators of films from the Nordic region, and a contributor to since 2013. 

Gravestock started to develop a particular taste for Icelandic cinema in 2000. “Few cinemas are as interesting and few cultures as fascinating,” noted the TIFF programmer. "Charting the wide range of talents who have emerged in the last two decades, and exploring Icelandic cinema’s singular history, has been a very rewarding experience.”

A History of Icelandic Film is the first comprehensive historical overview of Icelandic cinema in several decades. Gravestock looks at the emergence of film in the smallest of the five Nordic countries, from its beginnings to present day, with a special emphasis on fiction feature lengths produced since the foundation of Iceland’s first national film body the Icelandic Film Fund in 1979, with a space dedicated to documentaries. The book looks at central themes, such as urban versus rural communities, specific genres, (supernatural, Viking film, folk comedy, Nordic noir) and other cultural forms that have cross-fertilised film such as literature and music.

Gravestock looks at influential voices such as Fridrik Thór Friðiriksson, Baltasar Kormákur, Hrafn Gunlaugsson, Ágúst Guðmundsson, Dagur Kári, Sólveig Anspach, Ragnar Bragason, Kristín Jóhanesdóttir, and Róbert Douglas.

He also focuses on the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers who are enjoying international recognition, like Grímur Hákonarson (Rams, The County), Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Heartstone), Rúnar Rúnarsson (Echo, Volcano), Benedikt Erlingsson (Woman at War), Hlynur Pálmason (A White, White Day), and Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Under the Tree) as well as distinctive female voices like Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir (The Swan) and Isold Uggadottir (And Breathe Normally).

Gravestock said “I am proud of this book and I am especially proud of the great work done by my collaborators at TIFF, including editor Andrew Tracy, project manager Karen Sung, and designer Rachelle Ribeiro.” 

A History of Icelandic Film is published by the Toronto International Film Festival.