Iceland offers a great variety of dramatic, otherworldly locations within a short distance from each other. The “land of fire and ice” is famous for its geothermal hot springs, lakes, active volcanoes, lava fields, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls, bright green fields, pink and black sand beaches, salmon-filled rivers, picturesque fishing villages, whale watching, and Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) viewing.
Cost & Rebates
Iceland is generally the least expensive of the Nordic countries. The financial crisis of 2008–11 heavily devalued Iceland’s currency making it a more cost competitive film destination than it was years in the years before that. The USD remains very strong against the Icelandic Krona.
There is a 25% rebate on costs incurred in Iceland on films, TV productions and documentaries. This at present does not apply to TV commercials or music videos.
When To Shoot
Iceland is cold, but not as cold as the name suggests. When viewed from a plane, Iceland is green (as opposed to Greenland, which is white). This climate is tempered by the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The south is the wettest part of the country where snow is rare. Coastal areas tend to experience windy weather. The summer months have almost continuous daylight. July and August are the warmest months. Early spring and late fall feature long twilight periods. From November until the end of January winter experiences only a few hours of daylight each day.
Iceland is a Schengen Area member state. Work permits are generally not required for filming short-form projects in Iceland. US film crews can enter visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. Contact your local Icelandic embassy / representative for more information.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
Iceland has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Local crews are non-union. Icelandic crews are known to be skilled, creative and resourceful. They are known for their no-nonsense, straightforward approach. Crews all speak fluent English. Iceland’s close proximity to other major European production centres allows easy access to those crews should you ever need to look further. Talent. There is an actors union but models are non-union. Day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a case by case basis. Iceland has mainly Nordic looking talent. Most other looks need to be brought in. Iceland is Arri based. Most standard camera, lighting and grip equipment is available locally. More specialised equipment such as Technocrane, Motion Control, Spacecam can be easily brought in from London. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Iceland is an ATA carnet country.