Norway finally introduced its 25% rebate in 2016 and the incentive has benefited a handful of huge international projects, including the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die.
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli was impressed by the Norwegian experience: “Norway is a very beautiful country. The scenery is absolutely incredible… I just have to take off my hat for all the support we got in Norway and for the highly skilled film workers,” she told a Norwegian newspaper. Further big shoots include Marvel’s Black Widow, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.
The budget requirements (about $3m for a feature film or $1m per episode for a drama) and need for 30% of financing to come from outside Norway means the incentive has been used mostly by big international films like those listed and Mission: Impossible — Fallout, or high-end TV co-productions such as Netflix’s The Innocents or Paradox/HBO’s Wilderness.
In 2020, the incentive budget has spent $10.4m (nok103.3m) — capped at $6.9m (nok68m) for this year, but combined with previous unspent funds.
The incentive is particularly important because Norway is more expensive than many other European shooting destinations. The national incentive can be topped up by local support, for instance the Western Norway Film Commission can help productions access the media fund Zefyr. But of course it is never just about money. “We have this incredible nature,” Asbjornsen says, in reference to the northern lights, accessible glaciers and magnificent fjords. The country also boasts highly skilled crews who speak perfect English — and “the more Norwegian crew you use, the more refund you get”, Asbjornsen adds.
Local VFX house gimpVille has also proved it can deliver visual effects as impressive as any Hollywood outfit following its work on Norwegian disaster films The Quake and Roar Uthaug’s The Wave. “In terms of infrastructure, skills and level of technology, we are competitive,” says Asbjornsen.
Norway is not a member of the European Union but is part of the European Economic Area and a participant in the Schengen Agreement. Its currency is the Norwegian krone.
Norway boasts stunning natural scenery, skilled crews who speak perfect English, and top-notch VFX specialists including Gimpville and Storm Studios. “We have a lot of ‘virgin’ locations for the international industry, the infrastructure is well developed and the crew are of international standard,” says Truls Kontny, head of Film Commission Norway. “This might be why we are seeing increasing demand from abroad and the awareness of what we have to offer is increasing.”
Norway is well connected internationally and local travel is easy by ground and by air. There are good rail and road networks or flight times of less than an hour between capital city Oslo and Bergen, with many daily air connections.
First people to contact
Truls Kontny, Film Commission Norway email@example.com
Tina Beate Goa Fagerheim, production adviser for the incentive scheme, Norwegian Film Institute firstname.lastname@example.org