Iceland’s Baldvin Z Crime Series “Black Sands” Added to All3Media Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Brynjar Gunnarsson

GÖTEBORG, Sweden  All3Media is to handle international rights on Icelandic crime series “Black Sands” which, currently in development, is to be pitched at the Göteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab on Thursday.

“Black Sands” marks the first crime thriller to be created by Icelandic helmer Baldvin Z (“Trapped”) since the hit series “Case.” Commissioned by Iceland’s Channel 2, the eight-part series is co-penned by Baldvin Z (aka Baldvin Zophoníasson) with Ragnar Jonsson and “Valhalla Murders”’ actor Aldís Hamilton, who has cornered the title role. Co-stars include Baldvin Z regular collaborator Thorsteinn Bachmann (“Let Me Fall”, “Life in a Fishbowl”) and New York The Julliard School alumnus Thorvaldur Kristjansson (“Dracula Untold”). Production is slated to start next year.

“Black Sands” is produced by Baldvin Z’s own shingle Glassriver, which he set up in the wake of “Case”’s success in 2016, along with writer/creator Andri Óttarson (“Stella Blómkvist”, “Case”) seasoned producer Abby Haflidadóttir (“Manners,, “Case”), and producer/CEO Hörður Rúnarsson. The fast-growing company is consolidating its status as one of Iceland’s top providers of quality content for the local and international market.

Recent series that travelled include dramedy “Ordinary People,” acquired by MHZ Networks US from REInvent Studios, and the sexual assault drama “Manners”, which aired on the five Nordic pubcasters, RÚV, DR, NRK, SVT and Yle. A French remake is soon to be announced.

Rúnarsson told Variety that 2020 will be Glassriver’s breakthrough year. “We have projects with all major Icelandic TV players and a handful of projects geared towards international.”

Besides “Black Sands”, Glassriver’s other drama lined up for Göteborg’s works in progress is “My Funeral,” a six-part dramedy in the vein of Ricky Gervais’ s “Afterlife.” In it, a man diagnosed with a brain tumor the day he retires, decides to make up for lost time by hosting his own ‘gala’ funeral. Toplining the show is Iceland’s star comedian Laddi (aka Þórhallur Sigurðsson). The premiere on the local streamer Síminn is due in April.

Glassriver’s other projects take in:

*“Fractures” (“Brotin”) produced for RÚV, in co-production with the Lumière Group Benelux, with co-financing from DR, Yle, NRK and SVT and support from the Icelandic Film Centre. Bafta nominated short filmmaker Eva Sigurdardottir will make her serialised longform debut with this female-led drama about ER doctor Kristin, her psychic mother and teenage daughter. Shooting is slated for September 2020.

*“The Journey” (“Vegferðin”) is a six-part half-hour dramedy to be filmed both in Icelandic and English. The male-bonding mindfulness series follows Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (“Trapped”, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”) and co-thesp Vikingur Kristjánsson on a road trip across Iceland. Baldvin Z directs. The premiere is set for Christmas 2020 on Iceland’s Channel 2.

*“The Europark” (“Eurogarðurinn”) is an eight-part comedy helmed and co-created by rising talent Arnór Pálmi Arnarson (“The Minister”) for Channel 2. The show is set in a small quirky zoo in Reykjavik. A new wealthy investor has the ambition of turning it into a top European attraction, but hasn’t a clue about what goes on in a zoo and struggles to manage its weird staff. Delivery: September 2020.

*“The 14th Santa” (“Fjórtándi Jólasveinninn”) is a 90-minute animated film, co-produced by CAOZ and Canada’s Sonar Entertainment, with co-financing from RÚV and Sena.

*“Bankster”, a six-part thriller set in the financial world, between Iceland, the U.K. and Benelux. The show by Jon Ottar Jonsson and Rúnarsson is developed for RÚV, with the Lumière Group on board as co-financier.