GOTEBORG, Sweden — Netflix is co-producing its first Icelandic series, “The Valhalla Murders,” a crime show created and directed by newcomer Þórður Pálsson and produced by Truenorth and Mystery Productions for RÚV. The deal was announced today at the Göteborg Festival by Netflix’s director of co-productions and acquisitionsLina Brounéus.
Half-way through its Icelandic shoot, the eight-part crime series “The Valhalla Murders” is produced by Truenorth’s Kristinn Thordarson and Leifur B. Dagfinnsson with Mystery Productions’ David Oskar Olafsson for Icelandic public broadcaster RÚV. Streaming giant Netflix has boarded the €5.5m ($6.3 million) series as co-producer.
Thanks to Netflix’s investment and pre-sales closed earlier by DR Sales, half the series’ overall cost comes from overseas, according to RÚV.
Truenorth’s Thordarson told Variety: “We are extremely pleased to have signed this ground-breaking deal with Netflix. This is a validation of our efforts to bring the best quality content to the world and our trust in our young and promising director-creator Þórður Pálsson who has worked on this passion project for many years.”
“This is historic contract with Netflix. This fascinating project in general is a big result for our more ambitious and focused work at RÚV aimed at massively increasing the selection, distribution, and above all else, the quality of Icelandic TV material,” added Magnús Geir Þórðarson. director general of RÚV.
“The Valhalla Murders” reunites some of Iceland’s top talents. The series, based on an idea by Pàlsson, a graduate from London’s National Film & TV School, is co-penned by seasoned screenwriter Margrét Örnólfsdóttir (“Trapped 2”, “Prisoners”), Otto Geir Borg (“I Remember You”), Mikael Torfason (“Made in Iceland”) and crime author and poet Óttar M. Norðfjörð. Pálsson directs the show with David Oskar Olafsson and Thora Hilmarsdottir.
Toplining the series are actors Nína Dögg Filippudóttir (“Trapped”) and Björn Thors (Woman at War).
The story centers on police profiler Arnar, sent back home from Copenhagen to his native Iceland to investigate the country’s first serial killer case. He teams up with the local senior cop Kata. The murders don’t seem to have much in common until the investigative duo connect them to an abandoned boys’ home named Valhalla, where horrendous crimes occurred 35 years earlier.
The Icelandic show is set to premiere on RÚV at Christmas 2019.
During her keynote speech in Göteborg, Brounéus confirmed the latest Netflix investments in the Nordic region:
*“Quicksand”, its first Swedish Original, which is set to bow its first two episodes in the Berlin Festival’s Berlinale Series. The FLX production will premiere on Netflix on April 5;
*“The Rain” Season 2,” the returning season of its first Danish original, produced by Miso Film;
*“Young Wallander,” an English-language show produced by Yellow Bird U.K., based on Henning Mankell’s best-selling Kurt Wallander novels.
*“Ragnarok,” Netflix’s first Norwegian original, from “Borgen” creator Adam Price, produced by SAM Productions.
*Recent acquisitions include Bille August’s “A Fortunate Man” and FLX’s “Bonus Family,” Season 3.
Brounéus reiterated that Netflix is ramping up local content in the Nordics, as part of the group’s ambition to bring more than 100 non-English language series to the world.
She voiced her interest in authentic, relevant and unique projects from a local viewpoint, with potential on the global market, whatever the genre. She also said that she would be looking as well into original feature film production, kids content and documentaries.
“Talent is crucial for us. We’re fortunate to have an amazing talent base in the Nordics and our ambition is to bring those talents to the world,” she added.