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Create an Original Sigur Rós Video for a Chance to Win $5,000

07.9.12 @ 10:43AM Tags : , , , ,

Sigur Ros - Create an Original Video and Have a Chance at Winning $5,000 in the Mystery Film ExperimentSome of you may have already seen the video that was posted over the weekend (which starred Shia LaBeouf), but if you haven’t, it’s quite a heartbreaking trip. Sigur Rós, whose members hail from Iceland, has been asking specific filmmakers to make videos for their new album Valtari. The project, called the Mystery Film Experiment, has made the biggest news with the Alma Har’el directed experimental video, but there have been a few others released so far — with more being released throughout the summer and fall. Since the band is a bit outside the mainstream when it comes to much of their work, it’s no surprise that they are encouraging filmmakers from any and all backgrounds to make a video for a chance to win $5,000 and be a featured video in the Mystery Film Experiment.

Sigur Ros - Create an Original Video and Have a Chance at Winning $5,000 in the Mystery Film Experiment

Here are the details:

Sigur Rós are inviting film makers and video directors to create an original video for one of the tracks from their new album Valtari. In keeping with the Mystery Film Experiment concept, the brief is completely open for entrants to take inspiration from the world around them to devise and execute a masterpiece.


The winning video will receive an official place – alongside all the other creative artists and directors – in the Mystery Film Experiment pantheon showcased on the front page of Additionally, the winning film maker/director will receive a $5,000 cash prize.


Submit by: September 10, 2012
Vote: September 11, 2012, 10am PST – September 18, 2012, 10am PST
Winner Announced: October 2, 2012


  • All videos submitted must be original content and the full length of your chosen track from Sigur Rós’s album Valtari
  • Entrants can select any track from the album which is available to download here
  • Participants must submit their video to YouTube or Vimeo then paste the video URL and click ‘Get Video’
  • Videos must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to the submission deadline
  • You must include a description about your submission

If you don’t happen to be the video chosen by Sigur Rós, there is still some great exposure opportunity and other prizes:

Additional Winners:
Three further ‘highly commended’ directors will receive:

  • Exposure for their video which will be featured on Sigur Rós’social media channels
  • Sigur Rós’ merchandise including t-shirts, posters and a copy of Valtari

Highest Voted Winner:
The highest voted film maker/director will have their video featured across Sigur Rós’ YouTube and social media channels. In addition, they will receive:

  • An ‘Everything’ package signed by the band, including an exclusive Icelandic Valtari blanket, t-shirt and art print
  • A copy of Valtari, in any format

So what are you waiting for? It could be a great opportunity for filmmakers of all skill and experience levels to possibly win some money or at least be featured on their website, and the nature of the project gives filmmakers limitless options to do what they want with the band’s songs.

Links: Sigur Rós Contest Details & Sigur Rós Mystery Film Experiment


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 30 COMMENTS

  • It’s funny you would mention this, I was with Kjartan Sveinsson just the other day, the keyboardist for this group, in a masterclass in FEST(Portugal). Got to talk with him after, pretty cool guy, knows his stuff. But you guys are kind of screwed since he already mentioned this to over 300 FEST participants, lots of competition ;)

  • JUST SAY NO ! this is asking people to work for free again. if they want a crazy creative video they should pay for the creative just like anyone else. if ONE person wants to work for free or cheap, thats their decision. asking a group of people to work for free is wrong. imagine instead they were asking lawyers to write them up a new contract for their record label deal and see who could write them the best deal… you know how many takers there would be ? or asked all the custom guitar builders in the world to send them their best creative axe for the lucky one winner…. right… creative work has the same value as other work. don’t give it away for free. at most, I’d say ask for a 1 paragraph concept. then pick from the concepts if they are really searching for creative ideas, but to ask that it actually be done… its wrong. just say no to spec work

    • What about trainees or interns? Working for free on bigger productions, even if only serving coffee to the director, is how many start their careers and more importantly learn watching others, you can’t possibly be agaisnt that.

      • yes… even they deserve a couple dollars. ok, maybe you get to work your FIRST day free for everyone to see if you can manage to get coffee and such, but after that…. you should get something.

        if you need a reel project, then go do one. you don’t need this contest.

        as for the “winner” getting paid, what about all the other people who did good work who DIDN”T get paid ? they are most certainly working for free w/o question. besides $5k is crap for a band at this level. thats less than what they spend on post, never mind production.

        • Its a choice and some people find it fun and don’t need money all the time..

        • Joe Marine on 07.9.12 @ 9:15PM

          Here’s a good example: My daily rate depends on the budget and and the people I’m working with, and depending on how badly I need the money, I can usually work for the the rate I want.

          I’m going to be working on a project in a month where I’m not getting paid, and the guy making it is spending all of his own money (which is why he can’t really afford to pay anyone). The reason I want to work on it is because I haven’t had a chance to work on a project with the F3 and S-Log, and I want to be on a camera team with that workflow since I’ve never done it. To top it off, I’m working with people who I really like, and the worst case scenario is that it’s a learning experience.

          I’m genuinely volunteering to do this, as I have on many other projects – most of them with friends and we all have each others’ backs. What’s the issue with this practice? If people think they are too professional to ever work for free, that’s perfectly reasonable, but if you never do any favors for anyone else, I wouldn’t expect them to do any for you should you need them. To me it’s about the community of filmmakers you surround yourself with. There are cases where everyone wants to work for something for reasons other than money, and all of those reasons benefit the project.

          No one forces anyone to do anything, and if people volunteer – and you give them a reasonable expectation for where the work will go – I don’t see a problem.

          • I agree with Steve. very valid point – it devalues the work. I agree all interns should be paid “something” as well. I know interns at The Directors Bureau in Hollywood. They pay $12 an hour and provide a healthy, sustainable lunch… (of course being the intern you have to go pick it up) But the point is that it is energy for energy.

            Joe working for his homes is much different than giving a big rich internationally known band a free music video. I have to agree with Joe – that sliding scales are good when working for bros and your buddies in project that enrich/educate. But c’mon, $5K is less than they would spend on the wrap party for a real video.

            I agree – boycott this type of “free work” and let’s set a precedence that talent has value. I think writing a paragraph treatment is a good idea. Whomever said that – right on and thanks for sticking up for filmmakers and also helping us remember that our work is highly valued and not to be undersold/ used.

            We are not hookers and I don’t want to be pimped out. My talent has come at years of hard work, commitment, and time/money/emotions/relationships invested. No thanks to big rich famous bands that want to run a “free contest” to get a music video, Shame on them and I hope the work they get is worse than bad student film making.

            Wake up everyone! If you want to survive, succeed and prosper – you need to know/ believe your worth!


    • Andreas Kopriva on 07.9.12 @ 10:56PM

      I kinda agree with Steve here. This all seems like another carrot-on-a-stick type of deal – sure, it may serve as motivation for budding film-makers to go out there and film something and who knows, if it’s good enough it may get featured on a fairly popular band’s website.
      But what sort of mentality are such actions building?
      That it’s ok to work for absolutely free because there’s a tiny chance that someone may pick you and sort-of, kinda promote you? At the end of the day, the ones who benefit are the band and their label. They get a shitload of content, a large chunk of which will probably be pretty good due to the nature of the competition. Will all the filmmakers who don’t win be getting royalties for THEIR IP? For THEIR imagery which is promoting someone else’s product? Of course not.
      This hits too close to home for comfort for me personally. I’ve gone through the same ‘do it for your portfolio’ bullshit in three different fields – photography (6 years on, ppl still have the audacity to tell me to do it for my portfolio), music (14 years of guitar – 6 of which were live-show heavy – the bands I was in got paid maybe 50% of the times – most times it was less than our actual expenses) and now film-making.
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being absolute, and Joe mentioned a very valid point – I’ve helped friends out when it comes to promoting their bands/projects/brands – both for the experience and cause I care about these people.
      Harlan Ellison said it best –

      I think it’d be a lot more beneficial if people skipped ‘opportunities’ like this and instead focused on their own, original material. Write your OWN stories, to YOUR own songs and put those out there. If it’s honest and has been genuinely worked on, people will listen and watch it.

      • why are a lot of people up in arms about this? no one is forcing someone to work for free. Like I said its a choice, if you dont like the product, music etc. of the video contest then don’t take on the project. It’s a marketing technique that has been used for a long time. If you don’t have time or are too ‘professional’ to do free work at the moment then just let it go, move on…obviously priority and focus go to paid work but every now and then i find myself with some free time and if I don’t get any projects to work on I get antsy. This sort of thing is great to get started puts you in a direction with a great idea and if you get around to submitting it, its fun to think that there might be a chance.
        With that said I will not be participating in this contest cuz the Shia video was freaking stupid haha

  • Just show my dick and I win? No probs.

    • Joe Marine on 07.9.12 @ 4:09PM

      You should read the interview from Filmmaker Magazine. First, Alma was chosen to make a video, so now, as you put it that won’t help you win because the band had no idea what she’d be doing with it. Second, both actors chose to be fully nude at the specific time you’re talking about, they weren’t asked to do it:

      Filmmaker: For someone associated with big macho films, he appears very vulnerable on screen – was that contrast something you wanted to explore? As a high-profile star was he wary of the nudity?

      Har’el: Yes, I’m always interested in the way we fit into our gender and how abstract all of it is in the end of the day for most of us. Especially when relationships get deep and you sense all the in between and the human layers. Shia is a beautiful and strong young man but he has the ability to tap into anything and every part of himself. He wasn’t afraid of anything. If anything I was afraid to ask at first… I didn’t know him enough. He took on the dancing like a hero. He never danced before but by the end of the first rehearsal he was already adding his own accents to the dance. Some of them are my favorite moments.

      Surprising as it is, his nudity wasn’t planned. As we started to work on the part where they get dressed, it came up and then naturally happened. I initially thought they will be in underwear but they both felt they should go all the way. Shia has all the professional skills of someone who has worked on big scope movies but all the humility and sensitivity that’s hard to find. I don’t think anyone knows what kind of work he’s capable of, probably not even him. That’s what’s beautiful. I learned so much from him in just a few days.

  • Yeah record labels LOVE this sort of thing. For the price of one super low budget video, they get hundreds of videos. Some may be great, most will likely be crap, but the point is they are getting millions of dollars of work for 5,000. It’s exploitative plain and simple.

    Honestly, this isn’t even a great opportunity for amateurs just looking to “catch a break.” The competition is probably too intense to reasonably expect you have a chance, even if your video is a genius work of art. And if you’re capable of creating genius works of art, and are willing to do that for free, I think you’re better off getting in touch with YOUR favorite band / their label and making something for THEM. not Sigur Ros just because they asked you to…

    • I kinda see it as… ‘hey, here’s some cool music you can use for free to make your video. If you wanna send it to us and we like it, we’ll give you $5000.”
      If they don’t want it, you got a nice piece for your reel.
      Not a bad thing.

  • not a hater, but on 07.9.12 @ 5:05PM

    seriously, above comments are spot on. spec work is the devil.

    • Some people like myself look for projects to build up their reel. A competition that allows you to use their music to do so is a great opportunity. It’s not really free work since the winning film is compensated and the filmmaker gets exposure (which is worth more than a cash prize) giving a chance for an unknown filmmaker to get noticed. Creating art inspired by music -If you are a filmmaker and that does not excite you, I feel sorry for you.

      • Joe Marine on 07.9.12 @ 6:08PM

        I’m glad someone else said this first, it’s a reel-building exercise if nothing else.

  • Not only do they want you to work for free…they want you to buy the album first! Then you’re “allowed” to create videos for them! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    • Clayton Arnall on 07.12.12 @ 1:46AM

      My guess is that you’ve never tried to licence music before? It could cost thousands of dollars to use a track like this in a short film project. So yeah… being ‘allowed’ to use their song is actually worth something.

  • Setting aside the arguments about spec work, I think someone maybe needs to rethink the meaning of “deadline”:

    “Videos must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to the submission deadline.”

    The deadline is two days before you said it was?

  • Here’s the way that I look at it:

    Sigur Ros just gave you the rights to sync one of their songs to ANYTHING you want to make. That, in commercial terms, is quite a decent sum of money. So, if you’ve been sitting on some personal project, a narrative, a doc, an abstract piece, and you’ve been dying to use a Sigur Ros song but knew you’d never get the license…they just gave it to you :)

    Make the work you should be making anyways, submit it, put it in your reel, on your site, and see what happens.

    Seems like a no brainer to me. End of the day, you probably won’t win, but you’ll have something beautiful to show people when you’re pitching your own projects.

    • So I could publish/distribute my video with their music anywhere I like?

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking. It would be interesting to see the contest rules associated with this, and if one has permission to show and publish the video anywhere on their own. Obviously YouTube and Vimeo are allowed, but under the guise of this project. For example, I don’t think you’d be allowed to film a commercial for your business with logos and such and assume you’re allowed to use the song, but for a creative personal project I would imagine it would work.

  • So I have to buy their album first and then try to shoot a music video?

    • Daniel Mimura on 07.14.12 @ 2:02AM

      Yeah, I noticed that too…

      Just the downloads for this contest will probably make them more than $5k.

      But all that aside…if you aren’t down with it…don’t enter. And if you are down with it…do.

  • Judith Redding on 07.18.12 @ 11:47AM

    Based on what’s in the rules and regulations, they own all submissions, whether they are chosen or not. There is nothing about them granting you the right to use their music in anything other than the competition, and I think copyright issues would arise if you posted your non-winning video online. I also don’t like the idea that the also own the footage in your submission, which is what Section 7 of the rules seems to state. I think if one is going to put the effort into this knowing the huge number of entrants, that those who don’t win should still be able to post one’s video for noncommercial purposes with the music and an acknowledgement .

    • I think we should all just start working for free until we wither away and our bodies turn to dust and our souls ghost away in a midnight breeze. Oh, and if we do make any $$ on a interim project it would be simpler to just sign the checks over the record labels. Give em’ everything! Filmmakers don’t need to eat anymore.

  • Here is the submission I was the DP for. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • As I found this contest here I thought you might watch. It’s about Florès in Indonesia, inspired by Baraka or Samsara.

    Thanks for watching!

  • I’ve used other music and made my own mashups for sound so getting a chance to mix my work with a band I love was exciting. In the end a few people liked and loved what I did and then it floats off in the void of youtube. I’m hopeful it gets to stay on youtube after the contest ends. This was a bit easier to swallow since I have another day job.

    Go ahead SIgur Ros, pick mine. 850-900 submissions at 6-9 minutes each eeghads…

  • What i want to know is this – IF my submission is not selected at all, do i have the right to publish it in my website as my work? Or is that a violation of their copyright?