RÚV has agreed a deal with RVK Studios to co-produce both a drama series of between six and eight episodes, and a film adaptation based on Halldór Laxness’ Nobel Prize winning novel, Independent People (Sjálfstætt fólk), to be co-written and directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Trapped).
Independent People was originally published in two volumes in 1934 and 1935, and deals with the struggle of poor Icelandic farmers in the early 20th century, only freed from debt bondage in the last generation, and surviving on isolated crofts in an inhospitable landscape.
The novel is symbolic of the Icelandic people’s fight for self-esteem and, by extension, their fight to be an independent nation. It is ranked among the New York Times’s 100 novels of all time, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.
Baltasar Kormákur said: “To make a film from Iceland’s most famous book has been a dream of mine for a long time. This story of hardship, stubbornness and broken dreams is universal and speaks to everyone, not just those in our country.”
Independent People will be one of the most ambitious productions in Icelandic film and television history, with an expected budget in excess of €13m. Filming is slated to begin in 2018 with Ingvar E. Sigurdsson in the lead role of Guðbjartur Jónsson.