Iceland attracting several major international productions

A Will Smith TV series is among projects to shoot in the ‘safe’ country

By Chris Evans 28 Sep 2020

Iceland attracting several major international productions
Will Smith and friend Jay Shetty in Iceland

Iceland is proving a popular filming location thanks to low Covid case numbers and exemptions from travel restrictions.

Currently, four international productions are being filmed, two TV series and a plate shoot for a US studio film, confirmed Einar Hansen Tomasson, film commissioner at Film in Iceland, to KFTV.

“We are also expecting one large scale US studio TV series starting next month and shooting until end of the year, as well as a few commercials for big international brands continuing to shoot, and a few projects are planning to film in Spring 2021,” Tomasson added.

Last month, Hollywood A-lister Will Smith was in the north of the country to film a TV series (see image right), which is being assisted by local outfit Truenorth. He posted a picture of himself infront of Dettifoss waterfall. The project also filmed at the Stuolagil ravine in the east of the country.

Incentives and controls

One of the most appealing factors is that film crews can potentially start working from day one in Iceland thanks to modified quarantine procedures. This is part of new measures introduced by the Icelandic authorities to minimize the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Icelandic authorities are keen to maintain the progress made so far in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and making Iceland a safe place and stimulate economic growth at the same time. Testing and tracking measures for travellers will be frequently reviewed to ensure that the pandemic remains under control in Iceland.

So far, there have been just over 2,500 cases in Iceland with only 10 deaths. This was helped by stricter measures introduced back in July.

“Iceland has become an increasingly popular location for international film-crews. We continue to encourage this trend with incentives because we value the experience and knowledge gained by our local crews and the economic impact for local communities and for the country as a whole,” says Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, minister of tourism, industry and innovation.

“I am happy that in spite of COVID-19 we have managed, in cooperation with our health authorities, to provide a rare opportunity for international film-crews to continue work, while of course respecting all the precautions and measures we have put in place in order to make this possible.“

"Things are working out fine here in Iceland, the regulations are a good balance of authority and ability to make money. We've had a few projects over the last few months," enthused Steve Lewis, head of local production service providers, The Empire, to KFTV, who have specialist knowledge of the remote areas of Iceland and can help producers access the local financial incentive.  

Iceland offers reimbursement of 25% of the costs incurred during the production of films and TV programmes in Iceland. It’s also ideally located between the US and Europe and provides experienced local crew who have worked on major projects recently, including Rogue One: A Star Wars story, Fast and Furious 8 and Game of Thrones.

There’s also the added attraction now of the Reykjavik Studios, which is a 215,000 square foot complex with a 16 meter high ceiling and a floor heated by geothermal water pipes. The studio's founder, Baltasar Kormakur, has already filmed the series Trapped and his own Netflix series Katla there.

Stunning locations

The variety of landscapes on offer is incredible. A short drive can take film crews from black beaches through lush greenery and colorful towns, into barren highlands or towards glacial tongues and majestic mountains. “This nature has represented anything from the Himalayas and the US Midwest to mythical worlds and distant planets,” says Tomasson.


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