EXCLUSIVE-The two IP-driven Icelandic dramas are directed by Óskar Thor Axelsson (Black’s Game) and Björn B Björnsson (Cold Trail) respectively.

The neo-noir Stella Blómkvist was pitched at Paris’ Series Mania last year and is now ready to start filming this month with rising star Heida Reed (Poldark, Death in Paradise) in the lead.

“We are extremely happy to have Heida on board,” said Kjartan Thor Thordarsson, Sagafilm Nordic CEO. “Heida plays a hard-nosed lawyer who is not afraid of breaking taboos; she takes on projects that allow her to manipulate men, especially men in power.” The crime drama (3x90’ or 6x45’) is created as three films that work independently but are part of a larger story arch.

Sagafilm’s Head of Script Jóhann Ævar Grímsson (The Nightshift, Trapped) is head writer, working alongside Andri Óttarsson (CASE) and Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir. Icelandic telco Siminn and its TV station Sjónvarp Símans will premiere the show in the fall 2017.

“All episodes will be launched simultaneously on VOD, then on free to air once a week. This will be the first time ever that an Icelandic show is released in such a way,” notes Thordarsson. Stella Blómkvist is the second Sagafilm TV drama handled worldwide by Red Arrow International, alongside CASE.

Sagafilm’s next premium drama is the murder mystery The Flatey Enigma (4x52’) based on the best-selling novel by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson, nominated for the Glass Key Nordic crime fiction award and sold to over 30 territories including Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

Thordarsson told nordicfilmandtvnews.com: “It is a very exciting project as it is set in the 1970s, so it will be our first ever period TV drama.”

Set in 1971 in the small Icelandic island of Flatey, the show follows Johanna, a professor of Nordic Studies who comes home from Paris to attend her father’s funeral. She decides to finish her father’s work, solving the enigmatic riddle of The Book of Flatey, a medieval manuscript with sagas about the Norse kings. According to legend, the riddle will show the final resting place of a great Viking lord. But other people are interested in the riddle including a Danish cryptographer. When a murder is committed, Johanna becomes the prime suspect.  The series is produced for RUV and has been pre-bought by SVT and YLE. 

On the feature film side, Sagafilm will go into production this summer on the family football film The Mighty Minnows –A Great Football Adventure, based on the series of children’s novels written by entertainer Gunnar Helgason. The screen adaptation is written by Gunnar Helgason Jóhann Ævar Grímsson and Ottó Geir Borg. Bragi Thor Hinriksson behind the successful kids’ Sveppi will direct. The co-production with Sweden’s Götafilm has received support from the Icelandic Film Centre.