Alumnus David Mar Stefansson '19 Writing for New Netflix Show 'Katla'

BY Felix van Kann, November 7, 2019

Recent alumnus David Mar Stefansson ’19 is set to write for the new original Netflix show Katla, co-created by the award-winning Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur and showrunner Sigurjón Kjartansson. 


The eight episode science-fiction thriller is set in the remote Icelandic town of Vik, one year after the eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla. As people evacuate the area, the ice near the volcano starts to melt. The few remaining people manage to provide necessary community service. Despite its grand location, the area turns out somewhat apocalyptic. Mysterious elements, that had been hidden, frozen into the glacier from prehistoric times, start to emerge, with consequences no one could have ever predicted.


Stefansson commented: “Writing a series for Netflix right out of school is obviously something I do not take for granted. It’s a great honour and I am humbled. Columbia was very good to me on many levels, but most of all in terms of structure and discipline. Little gets done without a strong work ethic. I picked up various techniques from professors, and other students, and incorporated them into my own writing arsenal. I’m a work ethic thief, if you will. I learned a lot from my thesis advisor, David Klass, and his prolificacy continues to inspire me. As a mentor, I also got to work closely with Andy Bienen and his untiring devotion to the art of screenwriting still fills me with ambition. As a television writing concentrate, I took as many TV writing classes as I could. What I’ve come to realize, is that those classes have very much in common with how a professional writers room is conducted. So when I showed up for work on the first day, it kind of felt like a class at Columbia. Which was great and took the edge off things.”


As well as having a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing, Stefansson was a journalist in Iceland before pursuing Screenwriting. He’s also a Leifur Eiríksson Fellow and the Television Academy’s Drama Intern of 2017.


Katla will be released worldwide with an official release date yet to be announced.