Vesturport to Produce TV Show on President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

Vigdís FInnbogadóttir's first inauguration as president

The government has approved an ISK 5 million [$36,000 / €34,000] grant for the production of a TV show revolving around the life of former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. The show will comprise four episodes and will be aired on RÚV.

Nína Dögg to play Vigdís

At a meeting yesterday morning, the government approved the proposal of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister of Culture and Business Affairs Lilja Alfreðsdóttir to greenlight a grant of ISK 5 million [$36,000 / €34,000] to the theatre group Vesturport for the production of a television show about former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

The show, which will comprise four episodes, will cover Vigdís’ life from her teenage years until she became the first female democratically elected head of state. According to an announcement on the government’s website, Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir will play the role of Vigdís in the series, which will be directed by Björn Hlynur Haraldsson and Tinna Hrafnsdóttir. The show will be aired on RÚV and other Nordic national television stations.

Vesturport produced the acclaimed Blackport series, which aired on RÚV in 2021.

Verbúðin Wins Big at Göteborg Film Festival

Icelandic TV series Verbúðin (English title: Blackport) won the 2022 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize at the Göteborg Film Festival this week, RÚV reports. The award is given for “outstanding writing of a Nordic drama series” and is accompanied by a prize of NOK 200,000 [ISK 2.85 million; $22,824]. This year’s nominees included Countrymen (Norway; written by Izer Aliu, Anne Bjørnstad), Transport (Finland; written by Auli Mantila), The Shift (Denmark; written by Lone Scherfig), and Vi i villa (Sweden; written by Tove Eriksen Hillblom).

Set in the Westfjords in the 1980s, the story follows a married couple, Harpa and Grimur, as they build a small fishing empire along with their childhood friends. But with the introduction of a new quota system in the country, where the fishing grounds are privatised, the struggle for power results in a feud of jealousy, greed and betrayal.

Hailed as the buzziest TV series to come out of Iceland since Trapped, Verbúðin has indeed already garnered a great deal of international interest, despite the fact that it has not yet been widely broadcast for the international public. Vesturport produced the show for RÚV in Iceland and Arte France, and has production backing from the UK’s Turbine Studios, the Nordic 12 TV Alliance and the Nordisk Film & TV Fond. Prior to its success at Göteborg, it won the Series Mania Award at the Berlinale Co-Pro Series pitching event in 2018 and was also a hit at the Spanish Serielizados TV festival last fall.

Verbúðin has also been extremely popular with audiences at home—80% audience approval according to some figures. But the positive foreign reception of this particularly Icelandic story has been particularly surprising for the creators, says Mikael Torfason, who co-wrote the script with two members of the Vesturport theatre and film company who also star in the series: Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir (The Vallhalla Murders, Trapped), Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Trapped, The Witcher), and Gísli Örn Garðarsson (Ragnarok, Prisoners). “This is maybe not something you’d expect. The most popular material has usually been crime dramas.”

 

 

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.