The film has a strong and dramatic story, well known in Iceland in its outlines but practically unknown elsewhere. The research is new and original. It is full of surprise elements. At the same time, its many of its traits are familiar in the present – fear and joy, loneliness and solidarity, disaster and coping with disaster, the clash of cultures, the questions of lasting value.It has relevance today and striking analogies with recents developments.

We make it possible for the viewers to see this but we do not provide easy conclusions. Each period and each event has to be judged according to its peculiarities.This is an international story, of small nations of the Atlantic with world powers in the background, of Christians and Moslems.

We are dealing with conflicts on a world scale but we also tell, with empathy, the story of individuals. This is possible because of the rich documentation.

We use the narrative approach. In the big story there are many small stories. The analysis is mostly in the undertones but sometimes it becomes explicit.There are no film clips nor even old photos from the seventeenth century.

We do not stage the past with actors in costumes either. What is left, then? The rich picture gallery of the seventeenth century, the Golden Age of Dutch art among other things.

We tell a living history with the pictures made when this was still living reality. The past is also seen through the present and as a continuing element in the present. You see people relate to its history – school children, artists, storytellers, scholars, amateurs. At chosen moments, we go all the way into the past, by CGI.

Director/ Writer/ :

Thorsteinn Helgason

Producer: Hjalmtyr Heiddal

Camera and editing: Gudmundur Bjartmarsson

Music: Sverrir Gudjonsson

Duration 52 min.

Co-produced with:

Atlantic Jihad

Atlantic Jihad is a co-production between Seylan Film Productions, RUV, the Icelandic National Public Broadcaster, AVRO in The Netherlands and TG4 in Ireland. Atlantic Jihad is produced with

the support of MEDIA+, the EU support Programme , the Icelandic Film Fund and the Icelandic Ministry of Industry.

This documentary tells an untold story of European people taken prisoners and sold as slaves in Africa in the Seventeenth Century.

To unveil the true story we have travelled to 13 countries, among

them are The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Ireland, The Faeroe Islands, France and Morocco.


FIPA, France 2003

Finalist New York Festivals, Television Programming and Promotion 2003.

Xiamem Film festival in China 2003.

Nominated for the Icelandic EDDA award as best documentary. 2003

Humanity Explored San Francisco

USA 2012

Atlantic Jihad distributed in USA

National Film Network has just published the films on DVD for distribution in schools and libraries


Ministry of Industry

This project was supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union