My newest novel is out! It took me 6 years to finish it, but it's finally here. It's in Icelandic, called Dimmuborgir (Dark Cities), and publishes by Forlagið, Iceland's biggest publishing house.
The book is about literature critic Elmar Arnarsson, who gets new information about the death of his best friend Felix 25 years earlier. He's always been certain that Felix was killed, but becomes obsessed with trying to find out the truth about his friend's fate.But revisiting his painful past shakes Elmar's lonesome existence to the core.
The title of the novel comes from this place in Iceland, famous for its unusually shaped lava fields.
Dagbladet, one of Norway's biggest newspapers, writes a very favorable review about The Valhalla Murders, in an article called "Icelandic Crime Pearl":
"...this mystery is executed with such sophisticated craftsmanship that it stands out in a burgeoning serial market. The Valhalla Murders lives up to genre expectations in every way: It is a clinically cool and visually hyper-realistic crime mystery that could have taken place anywhere, but magnificently added to Icelandic lowlands."
Concluding: "Netflix's first Icelandic series is quality content of the hard-boiled, unbleached Nordic noir type."
The popular film site Screen Rant recommends The Valhalla Murders, saying: "Travel to the cold and monochromatic country of Iceland by enjoying
this unique whodunnit. The series follows a female detective named Kata
whose town becomes a killing ground for an unknown serial slayer. The
person seems to be targetting older men, and the crimes are connected by
knife slashes around each victim's eyes."
Adding: "The Valhalla Murders manages to provide an inside look into
the workings of Kata's Icelandic police department, into the family
dynamics that inform detective work, and into the public response to
Here's a nice review from Chile: "The greatest strength of this production is its characters. Human, fragile, full of flaws and weaknesses."
Adding: "The Murders of Valhalla are a pleasant surprise from northern Europe, which refreshes with different languages and rhythms a genre that seems exhausted in the West, but that can always be successfully reinvented."
La Diara, Uruguay's second biggest newspaper, published a very nice review about The Valhalla Murders, praising its characters, the writing, and the original approach to the genre, in terms of the last three episodes, concluding: "The Valhalla Murders is worth every minute of its duration and deserves a good marathon in these days of withdrawal (or any other day)."
Aftonbladet, Sweden's biggest newspaper and one of the biggest papers in Scandinavia, puts The Valhalla Murders on its list of 6 new TV series to watch (along with great shows like The Plot Against America and Hillary).
It writes:"Really beautiful, dark, moody and difficult Nordic noir, which has just landed on Netflix.Icelandic "The Valhalla murders" (eight parts) not only has the perfect title, but also a solid gloom, winter-white plot, social misery, cops wrestling with darkness in the past and of course horrific murders."
The film UNA (Recurrence), written by Marteinn Thorsson and me, is in full pre-production mode. It had a few "test" shooting days last December, with principal photography planned to start in September. It's produced by Gudrun Edda Thorhannesdottir.
Marteinn Thorsson also serves as the director, while the script is based on a novel by me from 2012. I'm looking forward to bring you more news about this exciting project.
The producer of UNA (Recurrence) is in an interview at Nordisk Film and TV Fond, talking about her projects, including UNA. Here's the interview, and here's the part about UNA:
"Meanwhile Thórhannesdóttir’s majority Icelandic feature projectRecurrence (Una)by Marteinn Thórsson (XL) is currently in pre-production. The supernatural thriller based on a script by Thórsson and Óttar M. Nordfjörd (The Valhalla Murders)
centres on Una (22), whose son disappeared a year ago and is presumed
dead. After a suicide attempt, a sinister creature appears and Una
starts to live a parallel story that happened a hundred years ago, a
story of rape, violence and murder, linked to another Una.
“The film will mark Thorsson’s return to genre-filmmaking and be in the vein of his earlier filmOne Point Zerowhich
competed at Sundance  and was subsequently sold to more than 40
territories. He will also gather some of the talent who worked with him
onOne Point Zerosuch as Udo Kier”, sa…
I'm happy to tell you that Netflix has bought the international screening rights to a TV series I've been working on for the past couple of years. The deal was announced at the Gothenburg film festival and reported by Variety. The series is called The Valhalla Murders and is currently filming. It will premier in Iceland in December, and be on Netflix sometime in 2020.
I've become a columnist for the Icelandic weekly-newspaper Mannlíf, writing column every few weeks. It's a fun new job, not too stressful, where I get to express my opinion on whatever topic I see fit. My first column was about Icelander's obsession with exercising outside in the cold, while I like taking it easy inside instead. The column is here and in Icelandic.
I was in a small column in the Icelandic newspaper Mannlíf about my favorite books, or those who've influenced me to most. Since it's impossible to answer, I named the first book that I remember affected me, and the last one - The Brothers Lionheart by the amazing Astrid Lindgren, and the fantastic Call me by your Name by André Aciman.
I've finished my next novel. I started it around five years ago, but had to put it on ice for various film projects. However, I finally managed to finish it the other day and hope it gets published next year. It's in Icelandic and called Dimmuborgir (Dark Cities), inspired by true events of a bullying case in Reykjavik in the late 90s. It's a coming-of-age thriller.
The title comes from this mysterious but beautiful place.
The TV series I've been working on, The Valhalla Murders, received funding from the Nordisk Film and TV Fond. Very honored, and very honored to be part of the fine team making this series:
"The Valhalla Murders produced by Iceland’s
Truenorth for RÚV was granted NOK 2.5 million. The 8x50’ crime show is
created and directed by Þórður Pálsson from a screenplay by Margrét
Örnólfsdóttir (Trapped 2, Prisoners), written in association with crime author and poet Óttar M. Norðfjörð.
born police profiler Arnar who lives in Denmark, is asked to go back to
his native country to investigate the first serial killer case. He
teams up with the local senior inspector Kata who resents his arrival,
as she is the lead detective on the case. The murders don’t seem to have
much in common until they connect it to a home for troubled boys dated
back to the 1980’s.
In the title roles are Nína Dögg Filippudóttir (Trapped, Prisoners) and Björn Thors (Prisoners). Top crew persone…
Here's an article in Danish about DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (produced TV series like The Bridge, The Killing). It's handling the international sales for the TV series I'm writing, The Valhalla murders, and that's already been sold to 12 countries, according to DR Sales.
A TV series I've been working on for over a year with some very talented people got a production grant from the Icelandic Film Center. The Icelandic Broadcasting Service (RÚV), the Danish Broadcasting Service (DR), and a few other international TV channels are already on board.
The grant is 50.000.000 Icelandic Krona, or around 410.000 Euros.
The series, titled The Valhalla Murders, is planned to go into pre-production in May, and start shooting in August. Very excited about this!
My film project UNA (Repetition in English) has been honored with a production grant from the Icelandic Film Center. It's 110.000.000 Icelandic Krona, or over 900.000 Euros. The director is Marteinn Thorsson, and shooting is planned to start early next year. Truly great news!
Since I live in Barcelona and have been following the situation here closely, I've been in various interviews in Iceland about the Catalan crisis. Here are some of them: In the TV news on Channel 2, in RÚV, In MBL, and a radio interview in X-ið.
I'm happy to announce that my horror film project, RECURRENCE, recently received a 50,000 euro development grant from Creative Europe Media. The fee will go into further development of the project, which I hope will go into shooting sometime in the near future.
Two of my film projects have been chosen to participate in this year's Strategic Partners in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that takes place from 14th to 17th September. It's a big venue where film projects are introduced to possible buyers, sales agents, financiers and film commissions from around the world. Very honored.
Recently a project I'm working on with producer/director David Oskar Olafsson was granted the first screenplay grant by the Icelandic Film Centre. It's a psychological thriller called Midnight, takes place in Vancouver in the 80s, and is about a woman who starts working as a late night radio DJ. Can't say much more at the moment - stay tuned.
I haven't checked in for a while, been busy working on the TV project The Valhalla Murders. About a month ago, I spent a week in Canet de Mar on Costa Brava with my two friends (director Thordur Palsson and writer Margret Ornolfsdottir), where we mapped out a few episodes of the Nordic noir thriller. Hope to bring some news about the project, or some others, soon!
Today in Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið, there's an interview with director Thordur Palsson about an original TV series I'm working on with him and a great team of others. It's called The Valhalla Murders and might shoot this fall if everything works out. More later.
A few weeks ago, there were auditions in London for my horror movie, The Hidden. Some interesting actors and actresses read and showed interest. Hopefully some of them will be announced in Cannes next month.
Talks with a possible distributor and investors have also started and will probably come clear in the following weeks. Hope to bring you some exciting update on that as well.
Two of my projects were announced in the Berlinale this year. One is my horror thriller The Hidden that's currently casting in London, possibly being shot next fall. The other one is a TV series called The Valhalla Murders. You can read more about the projects in Variety and ScreenDaily.
The other day, a friend of mine and me did an interview about a project we're working on. It's called The Hidden and being produced by Icelandic companies TrueNorth and Mystery, and UK production company Iron Box.
Funding has started, it was introduced in Toronto last month, and will also be introduced in AFM next month. Casting is also starting, in London and LA. It will be shot largely in Iceland, but the film is in English.
The French blog Polar des Glaces, which is about Nordic crime fiction, did a very ambitious introduction to my crime novel from 2008, Sólkross or Le Sang d'Odin in French. The blog post details many things related to the plot of the novel and includes pictures from places where the book takes place.
A film I wrote was pitched in Haugesund, Norway, this week:
"Recurrence, dir Marteinn Thorsson, prod Gudrun Edda Thorhannesdottir, DUO Productions (Ice).
thriller about a troubled young woman, with a parallel story about
another woman in the early 1900s. Thorsson said, “The film is has a
similar mood and atmosphere to The Witch and also The Others. I’m big
fan of Guillermo Del Toro so it has those fantastical elements. I want
to make a supernatural thriller that has substance and appeals to a
large audience.” To shoot autumn 2017."
And a project, where I have story-by-credits, was also introduced in Norway:
"The Deposit, dir Asthildur Kjartansdottir, prod Eva Sigurdarddottir, Askja Films (Ice) [pictured]
arise when a bankrupt fortysomething woman rents spare rooms in her
gorgeous house to a Muslim woman from Uzbekistan and an illegal
immigrant from Uganda with her 6-year-old daughter. Sigurdarddottir, who
was the line producer on Ram…
I did an interview in Morgunblaðið about one of the screenplays I'm currently working on. It's about Iceland's only serial killer, called Axlar-Björn, a 16th Century axe murderer! I'm super excited about this project and that the Icelandic Film Center has given the director, Davíð Óskar Ólafsson, and myself the first writing grant (out of three) to bring this remarkable story to the screen.
Here's a short article in English about Axlar-Björn.
Here's an interview with Kristinn Thordarson (pictured), Head of Production in the Icelandic production company Truenorth. I'm involved in some projects with them, and one of them, The Hidden, is starting to take off:
"The first project to get off the ground this fall is the thriller The Hidden
about a group of US geologists traveling to a remote part of Iceland
who become the preys of the mythical ‘hidden people’."
Truenorth recently signed a contract with Iron Box Films in
the UK to co-produce.