Volvo Produces Ice Screen for Stockholm International Film Festival

Elizabeth Tilley
Special Collaboration


A cinema screen, made from ice harvested by Volvo machines, was featured for the first time at the Stockholm International Film Festival.

It is not often that Volvo Construction Equipment gets the glamorous jobs, but installing a giant movie screen made entirely of ice for A-listers and film stars to watch comes pretty close. Volvo wheel loaders have been used to harvest the ice for the construction of the screen, which was installed in Stockholm for the Nordic capital’s 20th film festival.

Weighing around 10 t, the screen was crafted from ultra-clear ice harvested in slabs from the frozen Torne river in northernmost Sweden, near the Arctic circle. The ice for the screen was carved from the river in March, when the temperature was –24°C. This was the first time a feature film was shown on an ice screen.

The screen was created by a team from Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel. Given the complexity of the project, the Ice Hotel’s sub-contractor called on the expertise of Volvo Construction Equipment. An L70 and an L50 were used to harvest the ice for the 5 m wide and 3 m high screen, which was set up in central Stockholm. A Volvo wheel loader was also used to hoist the screen on to a podium on November 20 for outdoor film buffs to watch two special anniversary feature films. The screen was then pulled down after two days of film screenings – before the ice started to melt.

Ice Hotel creative director Arne Bergh said about 5000 t of ice was harvested to create the screen and to build this year’s Ice Hotel. “The harvesting involves attaching a large chainsaw with a hydraulic engine to the tractors so that they can carve the ice,” says Arne Bergh. “Then the tractors drive the ice to our storage facility on the shore of the Torne River, which is kept at a constant temperature of –5°C. Our sub-contractor chose Volvo machines because they can be trusted to do a job like this well.”

The Stockholm International Film Festival, which took place from November 18 to 29, 2009, has a precedent for quirky innovations: in 2000, it was the first to launch an internet festival and in 2007, it set up an online forum where directors and the audience could work together on films. The festival is held every year in November, with screenings of more than 170 films from more than 40 countries. Celebrity guests have included Dennis Hopper, Ang Lee, Lauren Bacall, and Terry Gilliam.

The next edition of the festival will take place from November 17 to 28, 2010.

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