So far this year we didn’t have any new Icelandic series in sight for us to watch, but now we have the excellent Sisterhood, Entrapped, and now we can be entertained once again with the arrival of Black Sands.
Black Sands is an Icelandic eight-part crime thriller about Anita, a troubled police officer who returns to the hometown she escaped from 14 years earlier due to family issues. Her world is turned upside down after the body of a young woman is discovered and an investigation commences. It’s filmed largely in an area of Iceland with a beautiful beach which literally has black sand due to the volcanic landscape, and it becomes almost a character itself in the series.
The show has recently been commissioned for a second season so it has been a big hit over in Iceland and will make its UK debut here on the ALIBI channel, as its first foreign series on the channel.
Alex at Nordic Watchlist spoke to the series’ captivating lead star and writer Aldís Amah Hamilton, who plays Anita, to find out more about what to expect from the series and the all-important question of where it was filmed, as the Icelandic scenery is bound to be big hit with viewers.
Black Sands is coming to UK shores – what can you tell us about the series?
Hey Alex! Thank you and thanks to Nordic Watchlist for your interest. We’re very happy that Black Sands is finally about to hit UK television as one of our actors is actually from your country, Dan Cade! He plays Stephen Meyers on the show and does a fantastic job. And of course I must give a shout out to our distributors, All3Media, also from the UK. They were wonderful to work with.
The series mainly revolves around Aníta Elínardóttir, a young police detective who’s kind of “pushed out” of the Reykjavík police force but allowed to work in her old home town named Glerársandar. There she needs to confront her mother after not seeing her for 15 years, as well as meet with all the people she left behind. Including her old love interest, Salomon and her father figure, Ragnar. Many would call it a crime series but we always felt it was more a family-drama, depicting how toxic family relations can become if left unresolved as well as… other… things.
You got to work with Baldvin Z – how was that? What are some of your favourite pieces of his work?
Ah my dear Baldvin. It was the most comfortable and “effortless” experience in filming I’ve ever had. Not because it’s an easy role but because we have such a good understanding of each other and the script of course. Our friendship has been growing since 2018 (when we began working together) and now it feels more like hanging out with friends fun than going to work. At least for me. He may be struggling haha.
I also want to mention that our entire crew was just incredible. Without them the experience would have been a very different one. Likely not as great I think hahah. There’s a family kind of vibe with the people Baldvin works with.
My favourite work of his, not including Black Sands, is Let me Fall. It just… It had such a profound impact and kind of drew back the curtains on the drug related issues we have here in Iceland. And to think that it was based on an actual person who went through such hardships… The actors also did it great justice. Just all around an amazing film.
Are we right in understanding you also worked on the script for the series?
You sure are! The original idea came from Ragnar Jónsson, one of the script writers. We started talking and Baldvin was soon on board. The three of us came up with the story together and then Baldvin delegated scenes to each of us that suited our strong points.
He did however take the final script and polished it so it all came together nicely. I’m very happy to have been a part of the process from it’s conception and to have such a great mentor. This is the first thing I’ve ever written and I feel it came out quite well.
Where was the series filmed?
Near Vík (a town in the southern part of Iceland) and in Reykjavík. Vík is close to the actual Black Sand beach, Reynisfjara. There’s one scene where we all gasped afterwards, because the sky juxtaposed against the beach looked like it was photoshopped. Incredible scenery, I hope your readers will like it.
What have you been enjoying recently – give us your best film, TV shows, music, and book recommendations
What a great question!
I just finished listening to Thandiwe Newtons performance of Jane Eyre. She’s just incredible even though the story is of course dated.
The last film I saw that really made an impact was Woman King. I’m a HUGE advocate for diversity, not just when it comes to race but in every sense. I felt like that movie ticked so many boxes. Black women with varied bodies and looks doing incredible things like hand to hand combat. And it’s a story from a place we (in the western world) rarely hear of in a positive manner (which sucks and skews our world view a lot I believe). And just incredible acting from so many performers.
I’m grateful for films like these, they help me expand my view of the world. Similar to what Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and such movies did. On that note, Everything Everywhere all at Once was also amazing!
I’m a big Kpop fan, been one since 2004 so that’s my main music recommendation hahah. Trouble is almost all genres can be found within kpop, so I recommend checking out a variety of artists. I for one LOVE Sunmi, Hyuna and Hyorin as well as Red Velvet and NCT. My first loves were SNSD and Big Bang though.
I do listen a lot to Megan Thee Stallion these days as well. And classic jazz in the mornings and evenings. It’s a mixed bag of things. And my partner and I are HUGE podcast listeners. Right now the Huberman Lab is blowing our minds.
Finally for TV shows, we just finished watching Dark Winds. Native Americans in the 70’s but make it a western style crime/drama. Beautiful. And the british Responder series also blew me away. It’s one of those things you shouldn’t watch before bed because it stressed me the f* out hahha. An amazing performance by Martin Freeman.
Black Sands comes to UK screens this Sunday 6th November on the ALIBI Channel which can be found on Now TV.
Interview by Alex Minnis