Nordic Region

Iceland, Norway and Finland all offer financial incentives to international film and TV producers, but productions come for the incredible locations.

Iceland is the production hub of the Nordic region. Easily accessible from the rest of Europe, the country’s main appeal is its wilderness visuals that are available within just a few hours’ reach of capital Reykjavik. In addition, producers can offset their costs with a 25% filming incentive.

HBO’s Game Of Thrones was a regular visitor to Iceland throughout its run and in recent years the country has hosted scenes from Warner Bros’ Justice League and The Fate Of The Furious, the eighth film in Universal’s Fast & Furious franchise. Production for Justice League was largely based in the UK but an Icelandic fishing village five hours from Reykjavik was a key filming location for scenes in which Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne first meets Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Cast and crew were airlifted to a remote mountain peak to film the scenes.

The Fast & Furious producers used a frozen Icelandic lake as the location for an action set piece on the ice-covered Barents Sea. Producers scouted around the world for a suitable filming spot that offered ice thick enough for a fleet of modified high-speed vehicles.

Finland and Norway are slowly emerging as viable international shooting locations, with both now offering their own incentive support. In recent months Finland has been host to conspiracy TV drama Arctic Circle, a Finland-Germany co-production that has filmed scenes in Helsinki and Finnish Lapland.

The country has also housed scenes for China-Finland-Canada co-production Iron Sky: The Ark. The action comedy shot in Turku in the south west of the country following a lengthy production schedule in China. It was one of two dozen productions to be awarded Finnish incentive support from the 2017 allocation and the producers switched from a planned shoot in the Alps to come to Finland.

Norway also now offers incentive support after many years of lobbying by the country’s production industry. However, while international features The Snowman and Downsizing have used the support, no international films applied for the incentive in 2018. This is likely because the fund offers just $7.3m (nok57m) in 2018. Instead, three Norwegian high-end TV dramas are being supported as international co-productions and will be the only recipients of the filming incentive for 2018.

Cinenord Drama and Denmark’s Good Company Films’ crime drama Wisting for Viaplay and TV3 Norg, started filming in Norway at the beginning of 2018 with incentive support worth $3.3m (nok26m). NRK’s eight-part drama Atlantic Crossing, a collaboration between Cinenord and Germany’s Beta Film, is set to film in the coming months and has secured a record $3.5m (nok27.2m) in Norwegian support, while Rubicon TV’s migration drama Beforeigners has accessed incentive assistance worth $508,000 (nok4m). Collectively, the three dramas are forecast to spend more than $80.5m (nok633m) on production in Norway.

Nordic countries Denmark and Sweden have their own thriving local film and TV industries but do not offer incentives aimed at attracting international location shoots.

The Lowdown – Iceland

Financial incentives

Iceland offers a 25% filming incentive for feature films and TV shows.

Full details: Film in Iceland

Infrastructure and crews

The country has a compact but experienced network of production service companies. Pegasus Pictures and Truenorth are two of the main companies that work on international shoots, while RVK Studios also services film and TV shoots and is developing studio facilities. For the moment, Iceland’s unique filming locations remain the country’s primary appeal.

Size matters

Iceland is well connected internationally — offering links to Europe with flight times of around two hours — and local travel is easy by road and by air.

First person to contact

Einar Hansen Tomasson, film commissioner
filmiceland@islandsstofa.is

The Lowdown – Finland

Financial incentives

Finland’s principal filming incentive is a 25% cash rebate that is available to features, documentaries, TV dramas and animations. Features must have an overall production budget of at least $3.1m (€2.5m) and must spend at least $184,000 (€150,000) locally. Television dramas must have an overall production budget of at least $6,750 (€5,500) per minute of screen-time and must spend at least $307,000 (€250,000) locally.

Full details: Finland Film Commission

Infrastructure and crews

Finland has a small but respected film industry. Experienced crews are available, as well as good production services and filming equipment. The country is yet to develop world-class studio facilities but international producers come to Finland primarily for its unique filming locations.

Size matters

Finland is well connected internationally and local travel is easy by ground and by air, with more than 20 local airports in Finnish Lapland alone. Flight times between Helsinki and the northern arctic regions are between 60 and 90 minutes.

First people to contact

Merja Salonen, Business Finland: merja.salonen@businessfinland.fi

Laura Andersson, Business Finland: laura.andersson@businessfinland.fi

The Lowdown – Norway

Financial incentives

Norway offers a grant of up to 25% of eligible production costs to features, documentary films and TV dramas. It is worth $7.3m (nok57m) for 2018. At least 30% of a given project’s overall funding must come from a source outside Norway, and features and TV shows must spend the equivalent of around $254,000 (nok2m) to qualify for support.

Full details on financial incentives in Norway: Norwegian Film Industry

Infrastructure and crews

Norway has a thriving local film and TV industry comprising more than 100 independent production companies and the Norwegian Filmmakers Association has more than 1,000 members, most of whom speak English. It is yet to develop any world-class studio facilities, but international producers come to Norway for its unique locations.

Size matters

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
truls.kontny@nfi.no

Anne Frilseth, production adviser feature films, Norwegian Film Institute

anne.frilseth@nfi.no

Related Articles