Blackport Garners Recognition at 2023 Edda Awards

verbúðin iceland television

The Edda Awards, the annual awards for Icelandic film and television, were held last night, March 19.

By far the most decorated production of the evening was Verbúðin (English title: Blackport), a historical drama about the fishing quota system in Iceland. Nominated in 16 categories, Blackport took home 9 awards.

Winners in their categories are highlighted in bold.

Film of the Year

  • Svar við bréfi Helgu (A Letter from Helga)
  • Sumarljós og svo kemur nóttin (Summer Light, and then Comes the Night)
  • Against the Ice
  • Berdreymi (Beautiful Beings)
  • Volaða Land (Godland)

Documentary of the Year

  • Velkominn Árni (Welcome, Árni)
  • Út úr myrkrinu (Out of the Dark)
  • Sundlaugasögur (Swimming Pool Stories)

Television Series of the Year

  • Trom
  • Svörtu sandar (Black Sand)
  • Randalín og Mundi: Dagar í desember (Randalín and Mundi: Days in December)
  • Brúðkaupið mitt (My Wedding)
  • Verbúðin (Blackport)

Director of the Year

  • Heimir Bjarnason (Þrot)
  • Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir (Svar við bréfi Helgu)
  • Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Berdreymi)
  • Hlynur Pálmason (Volaða Land)
  • Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Gísli Örn Garðarsson & María Reyndal (Verbúðin)

See the full list of Edda Awards nominees here.

The Edda Prize was first awarded in 1999 for excellence in Icelandic film and television and is awarded annually. This year’s award ceremony was noteworthy as the final Edda Awards for both film and television. Future award ceremonies will split the two. In total, some 165 works were submitted for consideration this year. Of these, 117 were television productions, 10 were films, 9 were documentaries, and 22 were children- and youth media.

Read our profile of Verbúðin here.

Big Fish In Small Ponds

vebudin blackport icelandic television

Blackport – a political thriller set in the remote Westfjords of the 1980s, documents what happens to a small fishing village when the Icelandic fishing quota system is implemented. If this doesn’t sound like the premise of a hit TV show to you – that’s understandable. But Blackport had Icelanders glued to their television sets […]

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Consolidation and Control of Quota Permits Under Scrutiny

Former Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir

Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir has instructed the Directorate of Fisheries to increase its supervision of quota permits. The Minister has also proposed a bill to grant the Directorate of Fisheries greater authority. These measures aim to prevent the consolidation of quota permits and deter non-compliance with laws and regulations within the fishing industry.

Blackport takes Iceland by storm

Ever since Blackport (Verbúðin) premiered on RÚV in late December, the TV series has inspired nostalgia for the ’80s while also training the spotlight on the Icelandic fishing industry.

The series, whose season finale premiered last Sunday, revolves partly around the transferable quota system, which was introduced in 1984 and allocated Iceland’s fishing allowance among fishermen-cum-boat-owners.

Life imitating art

Last Wednesday, Blackport served as a segue into proposed amendments to the supervision of the quota system in a conversation between Minister of Food, Fisheries, and Agriculture, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, and journalist Sigmundur Ernir Rúnarsson on the news programme Fréttavaktin on Hringbraut.

Svandís observed that Blackport was an “excellent” series that had inspired Icelandic society to reflect back upon that “dangerous cocktail of business and politics,” noting that the temptation of corruption remained a real possibility.

Later in the conversation, Svandís discussed what she felt were necessary changes to the quota system – changes publicised in a press release on the government’s website yesterday.

Granting the Directorate of Fisheries Greater Authority

As noted in the press release, Svandís Svavarsdóttir has entrusted the Directorate of Fisheries to investigate the consolidation and control of quota permits by associated parties within the Icelandic fishing industry.

In her instruction to the Directorate, the Minister emphasised that the institution conduct a systematic investigation of the control of quota permits by associated parties and that it inform the Ministry of its findings at regular intervals.

The Minister’s instructions are founded on two reports: a task-force report on the increased supervision of fishery resources, on the one hand, and a report by the auditor general from 2018 on the Fisheries Management Act, on the other hand. (Article 13 of the Fisheries Management Act defines the allowable quota share of individual and associated parties.)

A parliamentary bill to deter non-compliance

The Minister has also proposed a bill to amend specific laws within fisheries management, which the cabinet has approved for discussion before Parliament. The aim of the new legislation, which will grant the Directorate of Fisheries greater authority, is more efficient supervision to deter non-compliance with laws and regulations applicable to the management of fishing quotas.

As noted in a press release from the Ministry: “The government must possess a clear overview of the control and consolidation of quota permits by associated parties in the industry. The systematic management of the Directorate of Fisheries is essential in this regard, and supervision must be improved. Furthermore, changes to the legal definition of “associated parties” in applicable laws are needed so that it is clear when two parties are considered “associated.” With these instructions and this parliamentary bill, the first steps are taken to make the necessary amendments in the supervision of the fisheries management system. Efficient supervision on behalf of the government is one of the conditions for engendering trust among the public in the management of the collective natural resource,” Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote.

Associated parties

According to an article in Kjarninn published yesterday, the ten largest fishing companies in Iceland controlled 53% of the allocated quota in 2020; in November of last year, the aforementioned share had risen to 67%. Parallel to these developments, the profits of fishing companies have increased significantly, with less than 30% of profits being collected by the Icelandic government in the form of income tax, payroll tax, and fishing fees, while 70% of profits settled in the coffers of fishing companies.

(This article was updated at 7.36 on February 19, 2022)

Icelandic Thriller Blackport Takes Grand Prize at Series Mania 2021

Blackport TV series

The Icelandic TV series Blackport won the Grand Prize at the 2021 Series Mania festival yesterday. Blackport will premiere on RÚV on December 26 and is produced by Vesturport in collaboration with RÚV, ARTE France, and Turbine Studios.

“On Cloud Nine”

Based in Lille since 2018, Series Mania is a festival dedicated solely to European TV shows. This year marked the first in-person iteration of the festival since 2019. During the festival’s award ceremony yesterday, the Icelandic TV series Blackport (Verbúð) was honoured with the Grand Prize in the International Competition.

“We’re on cloud nine,” actress Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir remarked, speaking to Iceland Review from her home in Reykjavík this morning. “We’re incredibly happy to have been accepted to the festival; we were competing with big productions, from the likes of HBO, so we weren’t exactly expecting to win. Being honoured with the grand prize far exceeded our expectations.”

Premieres on December 26

As noted by Screen Daily, Blackport is a “political thriller set in a once-thriving fishing port hit by quota restrictions in the mid-1980s.” Created by Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, Gísli Örn Garðarson, and Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, the series – mainly shot in Suðureyri and the Greater Reykjavík area – entered into production last summer and wrapped in August.

“It’s been a long road, complicated by COVID-19; we shot part of the series in Hull and Grimsby, but travelling there last winter proved difficult in light of the pandemic,” Nína Dögg stated. The actress plays the lead role in the series along with Björn Hlynur Haraldsson. Blackport also features Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir, Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, and Selma Björnsdóttir.

Blackport is produced by Vesturport in partnership with RÚV, ARTE France, and Turbine Studios. The series comprises eight episodes and will premiere on RÚV on December 26. “Before the premiere, we’ll be taking it to Mipcom in October and to another festival in Barcelona. From there, the ball will start rolling,” Nína Dögg stated.