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BERLINALE 2018 Television

Iceland’s Black Port goes to Séries Mania


- BERLIN 2018: The drama series by Vesturport won the main award at the Berlinale CoPro Series pitch, while Norwegian thriller Fury will also visit the French Co-Production Forum for series

Iceland’s Black Port goes to Séries Mania
A promo shot for Black Port

The Icelandic drama series Black Port was the big winner of the Séries Mania Project Exchange Award at the Berlinale Co-Production Market-organised Berlinale CoPro Series exclusive pitching event. After competing alongside seven other projects (see the news) on 21 February at the Zoo Palast in front of a select group of commissioning editors, producers and financiers, the Icelandic project will also be presented at the out-of-competition session of the upcoming Séries Mania Co-Production Forum (2-4 May), which is being held in Lille this year. Also, the Norwegian project Fury received a Special Mention, enabling the producers to attend the forum.

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According to Laurence Herszberg, general director and founder of Séries Mania, “We chose Black Port [for the selection] for many reasons. First, it is inspired by true events and is a local project taking place in Iceland. Second, it has tremendous international potential thanks to its political themes, characters and the dramatic tension of the series. Finally, we were very impressed with the entire team behind Black Port.”

Produced by the well-known theatrical and film collective VesturportBlack Port was co-created by its founding members, Gísli Örn GarðarssonBjörn Hlynur Haraldsson and Nina Dögg Filippusdóttir, while Garðarsson and Haraldsson will also co-direct the eight-part series. The story is set in a small coastal town in the 1980s while the fishing industry was going through major changes, as a quota system was introduced in Iceland owing to overfishing. Following a married couple in their late thirties, who, along with some friends, started a fishing company in order to create a small empire, the series observes both the transition that the fishing industry is going through and the changes in local society, which was heavily affected by the restrictive new rules.

According to the producer, Nana AlfredsdóttirBlack Port has secured half of its budget and already has Iceland’s pubcaster RÚV on board, along with the Icelandic Film Fund. Also, British producer Andrew Eaton (Turbine Studios) has been confirmed as a partner, and DR Sales is handling the world sales. The first season will have eight 55-minute episodes, and the start of principal photography is scheduled for early 2019. In addition, there has already been considerable interest from the Benelux, France and the USA.

Created by Emmy winner Gjermund S Eriksen (Mammon) and directed by Roar Uthaug (The Wave [+see also:
film review
interview: Roar Uthaug
film profile
), the Norwegian thriller Fury aims to depict Europe’s struggle to gain an identity while fighting between the extreme right and extreme left. In the eight-part series, written by Eriksen and Helena Nielsen (Black Widows), a cop blows the cover of a female police officer who has infiltrated a right-wing movement in Norway. They will have to track down a European network of right-wing extremists and prevent their planned attack.

Budgeted at €1.25 million per episode, and produced by Lasse Greve Alsos (Monster Scripted), Fury has already secured a deal with Nordic streaming service Viaplay and is looking for more international partners.

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