Zik Zak Filmworks’ move into TV drama is a logical strategic step for the established film production house, which has brought to world screens some of Iceland’s most acclaimed feature films of the past 15 years including Dagur Kari’s Noi Albino, The Good Heart, Sólveig Anspach’s Back Soon, Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Volcano and Ísold Uggadóttir’s And Breath Normally.

Producer Skúli Malmquist who co-founded the company with Thor Sigurjónsson told nordicfilmandtvnews.com: “We plan to continue producing on average one feature film per year, and at the same time, we’re expanding into TV drama and looking into hiring more staff. Our ambition in TV is to tell engaging character-driven stories, tackling contemporary issues,” says Malmquist.

Zik Zak Filmworks’ first TV series to be broadcast on RÚV this fall is Happily Never After (Pabbahelgar). The 6x45’ divorce comedy drama was fully produced locally with CUBS Production and support from the Icelandic Film Centre. The creator/showrunner is Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir, nominated for the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize 2017 with Stella Blómkvist.

Magnúsdóttir also acts as co-director with Marteinn Thorsson (XL), co-writer with Huldar Breiðfjörð (Under the Tree) and novelist Sólveig Jónsdóttir, and producer with Birgitta Björnsdóttir. The professional actress also plays the title role as marriage counsellor and mother of three Karen (38) who is confronted with difficult choices when she finds out that her husband (Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson) has been cheating on her.

Magnúsdóttir explains that the show has one main thread, linked to Karen’s marriage falling apart, with each episode focusing on her ability or not to let go of her ideal of a nuclear family. The main challenge for the writer/director was ‘to find her own tone’ in storytelling and ‘the guts to trust her own vision, by creating a drama out of everyday situations and a multifaced and unconventional main protagonist.’

“It’s a drama with light-hearted moments and tragi-comic situations,” adds Malmquist who has lined up returning seasons with Magnúsdóttir.

Zik Zak Filmworks has also in development a premium international TV project, commissioned by RÚV. The 8x55’ drama Backfire created by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way, Under the Tree) and writer/actor Halldór Laxness Halldorsson will explore similar themes of gender prejudice in sport as the Norwegian hit show Home Ground. It’s the story of a fallen hero, former captain of the Icelandic handball squad, now living in a shabby flat in the Faroe Islands, who gets one last chance to redeem his reputation by taking on a job as coach of the women's team at his childhood club. This brings him into contact with a former step-daughter and a player who bears a painfully close resemblance to himself.

The project is expected to be shot between Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Germany, with an international cast. Malmquist is currently looking for co-producers and financial partners.