Nordic Talents winner Thordur Palsson is creator/director/co-writer of the Icelandic crime series produced by Truenorth for RUV, in association with Mystery Productions. 

Margrét Örnólfsdóttir (Trapped 2, Prisoners, Pressa) is head-writer and crime author and poet Óttar M. Norðfjörð is co-writer. “We’re working on the script with this amazing writing team and producer Kristinn Thordarsson [Truenorth] is contributing with an invaluable input, said Thordur Palsson. The 8x50’ crimes show will be the first major screen project for UK-based Icelandic director Palsson who graduated in February 2015 from the UK National Film and Television School and went straight to win the top Pitch Prize at Copenhagen’s Nordic Talents.

Based on his own original idea, The Valhalla Murders features Icelandic born police profiler Arnar who lives in Denmark and 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 deeper they investigate, the more they realise that the crimes are deeply connected to the victims’ past, and Iceland’s past. At the same time, the two main protagonists try to deal with their own demons and troubled past", explains Palsson. “The main theme is how family and the past affects you. You can try to hide but ultimately if you don’t face your past, it will haunt you.”

Inspired by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, Palsson wants to direct all eight episodes and give a ‘feature feel’ to the show. 

The Valhalla Murders is produced by Kristinn Thordarson and Leifur B. Dagfinnsson, together with Davíð Óskar Ólafsson. The series is set to start filming late 2017, with DR Sales handling world sales.

Nordic Genre Boost
Palsson is working in parallel on a first feature film project, The Damned, a co-production between Norway’s Filmbros, the UK’s Elation Pictures and Iceland’s Zik Zak Filmworks. UK writer Jamie Hannigan (Pilgrimage) will soon deliver the first draft. The project is part of Nordic Genre Boost backed by Nordisk Film & TV Fond. 

The psychological horror film set in 1874 is based on Palsson’s original idea. “I was living in a small seaside village in Iceland, writing another project, when I heard about a fascinating story. A long time ago, poor people from the village would turn off the lighthouse and redirect the lights towards the cliffs to let the ships hit the rocks and they would then ransack them.“

“My story is slightly different”, he continues. “In a small God-fearing community, a fishing community decides not to rescue the survivors of a shipwreck, fearing that their small rations will not be enough for everyone. Suddenly strange things start to happen and the villagers believe that they are damned.” “It will be a character-driven horror film and we will see the damned only through the eyes of the protagonists. We will start questioning what is real or not, just like in Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.“

Shooting in Iceland is scheduled for early 2018.