Pan-European company Studiocanal is in final negotiations to acquire “Katla,” a supernatural thriller drama series created by Baltasar Kormakur, the maker of “Everest” and “Trapped.”
Studiocanal will be co-producing and handling international sales on the series which is currently at script stage and will center on the famous volcano of the same name in southern Iceland.
“Studiocanal is very enthusiastic about the project and they’re big in Europe,” said Kormakur, who created “Katla” and will direct at least the pilot, as well as produce via his Icelandic banner RVK Studios.
Kormakur said the project, which will shoot in English and Icelandic, has already sparked interest for a remake rights.
The dystopian series is set in Reykjavik, in a near future where Katla has been erupting for two years, causing damage, health hazards, alarming mutations and strange events. A large-scale crisis breaks out and brings together scientists from abroad who converge on the Icelandic capital.
“Iceland provides a compelling backdrop for a series like ‘Katla,’ because it’s a country which only has 300,000 inhabitants and draws over 2 million tourists each year. So a natural disaster of that scope would have a massive impact,” he said back at the Berlin Film Festival where the project was pitched to potential partners.
The series is based on a real threat. Increased earthquake activity has been detected around Katla since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, ash from which closed European skies to air traffic for days, causing huge travel and commercial disruptions. Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson warned then that “the time for Katla to erupt is coming close.”
The series will shoot at Kormakur’s upcoming film studio, which will be part of a 40,000-square-meter media center located in Reykjavik.
Kormakur said he expects his studio to be built in time for the start of the series shooting in the fall.
Kormakur will aim at replicating the same model that he used on “Trapped,” which enlisted up-and-coming directors, from Iceland and beyond, to work on the show.
The Icelandic filmmaker is currently developing the second season of “Trapped” and preparing the shoot of his next film, “Adrift at Sea,” a survival story with Shailene Woodley which is being sold and produced by STX Films.