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Foreign studios and producers interested in filming in Iceland

Since Netflix's content chief Ted Sarandos mentioned that the streaming giant was currently in production in Iceland and South Korea, Iceland's film commissioner Einar Tómasson has been fielding queries from producers and studios in Los Angeles, New York and Europe. 

Due to the coronavirus outbreak filmmakers have been waiting out the uncertainty of film production. Netflix's eight-part supernatural volcano drama, Katla, by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur went into production prior to COVID-19 reaching Scandinavia, and Kormákur was able to get in a few weeks' work before the forced worldwide shutdown. He returned to set about three weeks ago in Iceland and will shoot into July.

Ted Sarandos published an article in the Los Angeles Times on May 4, saying that testing in Iceland is widely available, whether you have symptoms or not. So, the entire cast and crew of Katla volunteered to get tested to start filming again. The tests came back negative, but everyone still has their temperature taken first thing in the morning. The team has also developed strict protocols with local doctors should anyone develop symptoms.

In an interview with Deadline, Kormákur explains the production setting furthermore: "Everything is sanitized regularly, there are security guards on set at all times. I built this plan in tandem with Netflix and Icelandic health company and they were very trusting and graceful to let me actually try this and see, while this is easing up, whether this could be done." 

Tómasson, Iceland's film commissioner, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times regarding foreign studios and producers: “They're trying to figure out which markets to enter first. They're trying to map different locations to know which are safe and secure and where they can enter first with potential projects.”

On May 4, gathering limits in Iceland increased from 20 to 50, with the potential of going up to 100 in June. According to Tómasson, a big thaw for foreign filmmakers is on the way. Tómasson and members of Iceland's film industry have presented the government with a host of proposals intended to capitalize on the country's small population and expansive geography.

Leifur Dagfinnsson, chief executive and owner of Truenorth, a production house that has worked on the first joint Netflix production, The Valhalla Murders, says in the interview with the Los Angeles Times that he has been advising the government about positioning Iceland as a first stop post-coronavirus destination.