Icelandic production company Vesturport’s drama-series “Black Port,” was announced as the winner of this year’s Series Mania award at the Berlinale CoPro Series pitching event, held as part of the Berlin Film Festival. As a result, the series will be included in an out-of-competition section of France’s Series Mania’s Co-production Forum. “Fury,” created by International Emmy winner Gjermund S. Eriksen, produced by Monster Scripted, and directed by Roar Uthaug received an honorable mention, and an invitation for it’s Norwegian producers to attend the forum as well.
“It’s a very strong local story, really located in this small town,” said Series Mania founder Laurence Herszberg as she announced the winner, “It has strong characters, you can feel the dramatic tension, and it’s really well written. I think it has all the elements to be interesting for an international audience.”
Wednesday Feb. 21 marked the fourth installment of Berlinale’s CoPro Series, an event held for producers, commissioning editors, distributors and financiers to take in pitches for new TV projects. “Black Port” and “Fury” were two of eight drama series which presented.
“We´ve been developing “Black Port” for a while, and holding it away from the official light.” said Vesturport producer Nana Alfreds, who led the pitch alongside co-creator and director Gísli Örn Garðarsson, “Now, as its existence is emerging,” she continued, “It’s comforting to see the Global interest in it. We´re meeting broadcasters, co-producers and co-financiers and the experience has been very positive so far.”
Vesturport is a hybrid theater and film company, and has received numerous awards and critical praise in both areas. Recent TV and film productions include: 2017’s “Prisoners” from Goteborg best film winning director Ragnar Bragason; “Homecoming,” from 2006 Berlinale Shooting Star winner Björn Hlynur Haraldsson; and “Brim,” which dominated Iceland’s Edda Awards in 2010.
The series will be directed by Garðarsson and fellow co-creator Björn Hlynur Haraldsson.
Turning on a married couple in their 30s, “Black Port” takes place in a small Icelandic fishing village between 1983-1991. Early on things are good for the people of the village, and the fishing industry is booming. As time goes by however, the government levies fishing quotas which become restrictive, and have a major impact on the quality of life experienced by those who previously had only known prosperity.
Initial financing for the show came from RUV, the Icelandic national broadcasting corporation, where its first season of eight, 55 minute episodes will air. “Financing is going according to schedule,” said Alfreds, “We have half of the budget confirmed already, including TV money from RUV.”
Series Mania will run April 27 – May 5 in its new host city of Lille.