Fabricated movie poster 

L’île française
Printed and restored frame from a film discovered in The National Film Archive of Iceland
Documentation by Þorgeir Þorgeirson. 6th December 1963
Photographic assistance Vigfús Birgisson

On 6th December 1963 three French men, Gérard Gery, Philippe Laffon and Pierre Mazeaud, were the first to set foot on a new island south west of Iceland, just three weeks after the initial eruption, hence the suggested name French Island.

By chance, filmmaker Þorgeir Þorgeirson (1933-2003) was on a motorboat at the same time, close enough to witness the first landwalk and film the event with his new cinemascope colour film. The three men dwelled upon ground for just enough time to place two flags, the French flag and a flag with the Paris Match logo, the newspaper that commissioned the expedition, before they had to hurry off the island as the eruption started to increase drastically.

Following his death, Þorgeir’s family donated many of his films to the National Film Archive of Iceland. In December 2013, I got a hold of a 50 year old newspaper headlining the French “colonialists” and noticed Þorgeir’s name. After visiting a few places that led me to the Film Archive, I made a request to view his footage stored there. After many hours of watching familiar (in-land) landscapes, a black sandy beach appeared on the viewing monitor. Two men were moving hastily around the muddy shoreline and waving to the people on the boat who were filming them, whilst the third one (Mazeaud) attempted to keep a hold of their rubber boat.

The Film archive was unaware that they possessed footage of this event so upon the discovery, the film was cleaned, restored and is now preserved for future keeping.