About the IFC

Icelandic Film Industry at a Glance

Since the famous 9th and 10th century sagas, Iceland has been a nation of storytellers. Iceland has a population of only about 359,000 — and yet produces more films per capita than any other country in the world. The country is home to amazingly talented, creative and collaborative people, showing the world their unique perspectives and delving into the inner lives of people who call this remote and scenic island home.

These filmmakers receive crucial support from The Icelandic Film Centre, a public institution that provides funding for Icelandic films, promotes them abroad and nurtures film culture in Iceland by supporting festivals, seminars, workshops and other networking opportunities for film professionals.

The Icelandic Film Centre distributes available grants, which are divided between narrative features and short films, documentaries, and TV fiction.

The Icelandic Film Centre also provides funding for co-productions, working with the Nordic countries, France, Germany, Poland, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Iceland is also party to the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production.

Some recent minority co-productions include End of Sentence, Grand Marin, Valhalla, Winter Brothers, Innocence and Margrete-Queen of the North.

Iceland is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and is represented in organisations including Creative Europe/MEDIA, Eurimages, the Nordisk FIlm & TV Fond, the European Film Academy and European Film Promotion.

Icelandic films have screened at more than 400 festivals worldwide and are regularly selected in the competitive sections of festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, San Sebastian, Tribeca, Toronto, Karlovy Vary, Busan and Tokyo.

Recent internationally acclaimed Icelandic films include Godland, Lamb, Beautiful Beings, Cop Secret, A White, White Day, Woman at War, Virgin Mountain, Rams, Under The Tree, Let Me Fall, The Last Autumn and A Song Called Hate. Visit the Icelandic Film Database for a full list of Icelandic films.

Icelandic TV series have also made their global mark and are being picked up by major broadcasters and global streaming platforms. Recent international hit TV series include Trapped, Katla, Black Sands, The Valhalla Murders, Blackport and The Minister.

Iceland also hosts a number of internationally renowned film festivals including Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) in September and Stockfish in March.

Bíó Paradís is the country's first and only art-house cinema, located in downtown Reykjavík. It screens the best in contemporary world cinema, cult movies and classics, hosts many film and cultural events, and organizes film-literacy screenings for schools.

Myndform, Samfilm and Sena are Iceland's top film distribution companies, while Bíó Paradís distributes art-house films.

Iceland has around 40 cinema screens and the country has one of the world's most active cinemagoing populations (4.6 cinema visits per year per person in the capital area (2019, source: Statistics Iceland).

With a 35% refund on production costs, experienced film crews and a stunning variety of locations, filming in Iceland offers a unique opportunity for all filmmakers.

All productions for feature films, TV shows and documentaries in Iceland are eligible for a 25% refund, no matter the total cost of the project but to receive 35% a production must fulfill specific requirements. The reimbursement scheme is simple, transparent and effective.

Iceland's other-worldly landscapes include endless black sand beaches, imposing glaciers, snow-capped mountains, rugged lava fields, powerful waterfalls, lakes, and lagoons packed with icebergs. The stark highland interior, tundra, and moors patched with cobalt blue ponds contrast with active geysers, fumaroles, and steaming sulfur mountains. Iceland can even offer 18 hours a day of sunlight in June and July.

Iceland has daily flight connections to most major hubs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some of the many international films to shoot in Iceland include The Northman, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, The Fate of the Furious, Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: Rogue One, Interstellar, Oblivion, Noah, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Secret LIfe of Walter Mitty, Prometheus, Flags of Our Fathers and Die Another Day, and TV shows including Game of Thrones, Sense8 and Succession.

More at filminiceland.com

Experienced production service companies in Iceland include Truenorth, Sagafilm, Pegasus Pictures, Hero Productions, RVK Studios, Republik and Genesis Films Iceland.

In Gufunes, a former industrial area within a short drive from the centre of Reykjavik, Baltasar Kormákur's new RVK Studios is one of Europe's largest studio complexes and a budding creative village.

Iceland offers a modern, connected, and stable infrastructure, and Icelanders speak fluent English. A full range of professional services is available, including location assistance, crew, equipment rentals, casting, post-production, visual effects work and more. Iceland has excellent telecommunications connectivity and one of the highest internet and mobile telephone penetration rates in the world.

Iceland offers talented crew members and industry experts at all levels, including internationally recognised cinematographers such as Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson; editors Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir and Valdís Óskarsdóttir; production designer Eggert Ketilsson; and costume designer Margrét Einarsdóttir.

For filmmaking education, Iceland University of the Arts has launched a new filmmaking BA in 2022. The University of Iceland offers a film studies programme, and the Icelandic Film School and Reykjavik's Technical College also offer film training.

The Icelandic Film Centre has adopted GREEN FILM as a system to encourage the producers with whom it cooperates to adopt environmentally sustainable work practices. The country's famous geothermal activity leads to clean and efficient production of green electricity – including geothermal heating for businesses including RVK Studios. Iceland's affordable green electricity also makes it an ideal location for housing servers.

With internationally renowned musicians from Björk to Sigur Rós, Iceland's music scene is also closely connected to the film industry. Composer Hildur Gudnadóttir won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Joker in 2020 and has recently worked on Tár and Women Talking. Experienced composer Atli Örvarsson, whose credits include Babylon A.D and The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, is one of the founders of the TV and film music studio complex Sinfonia Nord in Akureyri, north Iceland. The Icelandic government offers a 25% rebate for audio recordings made in Iceland.

Films have been shot in Iceland since 1918 but the modern era of Icelandic filmmaking started after the government-supported Icelandic Film Fund (now the Icelandic Film Centre) launched in 1978. 

Early seminal works came from Ágúst Gudmundsson, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson (Iceland's first Oscar nominee in 1992 for Children of Nature), and Hrafn Gunnlaugsson with his Raven films. The next wave of filmmakers – including Baltasar Kormákur, Dagur Kári, Valdís Óskarsdóttir, Ragnar Bragason, and Sólveig Anspach – received even more global attention (with Kormákur in particular also in demand for Hollywood films like Everest). 

Soon to follow were exciting filmmakers like Benedikt Erlingsson, Rúnar Rúnarsson, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, Grímur Hákonarson, Baldvin Z, and more talents, and the latest exciting new voices include Hlynur Pálmason, Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir, and Ísold Uggadóttir.