The English language TV drama is based on Iceland’s celebrated author/screenwriter Einar Karason’s The Sturlunga Clan Trilogy, a rewriting of Iceland’s medieval Sturlunga saga. “The Sturlunga clan was the godfather of the 13th century, the most powerful Viking clan, fighting to take control the country,” explains Truenorth Head of Production Kristinn Thordarson (pictured) to nordiskfilmogtvfond.com.
“Karason who has collaborated with Fridrik Thor Fridriksson on several films [Devil’s Island, Falcons, White Whales] is deeply involved in the project and has written the story from the point of view of each main character” explains Thordarson. The Icelandic producer says that The Tree of Life and The Matrix Revolutions’ producer Grant Hill has boarded the project and a deal is being negotiated with a major US platform. “It’s going really well and that’s one of our projects that we want to get off the ground as soon as possible”.
The production division of Iceland’s leading production servicing companies that worked last year on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has no less than a dozen projects in its pipeline, both in English and Icelandic language. “Our ambition is to use the Working Title model, to build on our long-standing relationships with US producers and at the same time expand our collaborations with European partners,’ says Thordarson.
The company’s first fully-produced Icelandic film - In Front of Others directed by Óskar Jónasson - just opened last Friday at number three in Iceland and averaged 4 stars in the local press. Next on its slate is the crime thriller Vaidas by first time director Ari Alexander, produced again with Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. The €1.5-€2M project has received funding from the Icelandic Film Centre and Creative Media and should start filming at the end of the year.
Thordarson was at the last Berlinale pitching a slate of eight films and TV dramas (three in Icelandic and five in English language) to be produced over a five-year period with Iceland’s Mystery Productions. “Basically, we share the same vision and goals”, continues Thordarson. “We wanted to find new ways to co-produce with Scandinavia and the UK and to focus on international projects”. The first project to get off the ground this fall is the thriller The Hidden about a group of US geologists travelling to a remote part of Iceland who become the preys of the mythical ‘hidden people’. Iron Box Films in the UK will co-produce.
On the production servicing side, Truenorth is preparing for the three week shoot in Iceland of Universal’s Fast & Furious 8 and the company has just set up a Norwegian branch headed by Per Henry Borch to take advantage of the new Norwegian tax rebates. “We’ve been asked by US studios to help out with potential shoots there. Norway offers different landscapes than Iceland, so we complement each other. It makes perfect sense for us’, concludes Thordarson.