First film to go on floors amidst #COVID19 in Iceland.
In a surprise for the entertainment industry, Netflix's ambitious sci-fi meets supernatural Nordic series 'Katla' has currently resumed production in Iceland. Stunningly, it is one of the only productions to have gotten back to filming anywhere in the world, in the midst of the Coronavirus shutdown in the entertainment industry.
'Katla' is an eight-part sci-fi thriller with hints of the supernatural, being made for Netflix by celebrated director Baltasar Kormákur (Adrift, The Oath, Everest), in conjunction with Sigurjón Kjartansson (Trapped showrunner), and written by crime writer and playwright Lilja Sigurðardóttir and screenwriter Davíð Már Stefánsson.
The reason that 'Katla' has been able to get back to filming is because of the carefully thought out safety protocol outlined by Iceland. It is following a rigorous safety and testing protocol that has allowed it to rein in the COVID-19 outbreak faster than other countries.
Currently, the Iceland government is allowing gatherings of up to 20 people, provided they adhere to adequate social distancing measures. Iceland has a population of a mere 364,000, wide swathes of underpopulated spaces, and barely any new positive cases of Covid-19. It has also tested most of its population for the virus, so there's little chance of the virus spreading once lockdown in Iceland is completely rolled back. At the current rate, the Iceland government is optimistic that the country could be COVID-19-free by the end of May.
'Katla' is currently filming with a threadbare crew, but Einar Hansen Tómasson, Iceland’s film commissioner, expects local film and TV production to pick back up again on May 4 when the government expands the limit on gatherings to 50 people.
Once things get back to normal, the makers of Katla hope to bring in foreign crews by May, to ramp up production.
Katla is set in the small town of Vik in Iceland. As per the official logline, "Katla begins one year after the violent eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla, which dramatically disturbs the peace and tranquillity of Vik.
As people evacuate the area, the ice near the volcano starts to melt. The few remaining people manage to provide necessary community service and despite its grand location, the area turns out somewhat apocalyptic. Mysterious elements, that have been deeply frozen into the glacier from prehistoric times, start to emerge from the melting ice and cause consequences no one could have ever foreseen."