Breaking big

Iceland continues to make a name for itself as one of the most sought after shooting locations of the Arctic

Not as remote as we look

Lesley Price

As the backdrop for major international productions the likes of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ (a scene from which is pictured above), Iceland has established itself as one of the most popular shooting locations for blockbuster films right now. As the new year begins, it looks like there is no slowing down.

A new series, ‘Fortitude’, headed by Sky Atlantic and Tiger Aspect, will begin shooting at the end of the month and run until June.

The series is will feature Michael Gambon, from the Harry Potter series, Stanley Tucci, of ‘The Hunger Games’, and Sofie Gråbøl, star of Danish international hit ‘The Killing’. The first episodes will also be directed by Briton Sam Miller, renowned for his work with the BBC.

The series will be set at a research university in a small Arctic town, where “strange things start to happen and the otherwise calm town turns to turmoil”, explained Einar Sveinn Thordarson, marketing director for Pegasus Iceland, a film-production firm.

“We’ve been preparing this for a year now. We’re setting this in the Eastfjords of Iceland around Reydarfjordur, where we normally have a lot of snow in the winter,” Mr Thordarson said.

A cut above the rest
Iceland, according to Mr Thordarson, has become a popular filming location in recent years mostly due its “great scenery” and diverse landscape, encompassing a “mix of ice, snow, geothermal and volcanic qualities”.

“The beauty of the landscape is very important. We’ve spent a lot of time and money promoting it,” he said.

Iceland has also proven to have an advantage over its Arctic competitors as a filming location due to its “remote-looking” areas actually being “very accessible”.

“The fact that there is a chance to drive, as well as fly, between locations carries a lot of weight,” he said. “We can drive onto our glaciers for filming and don’t have to rely on helicopters.”

There are also financial incentives. On the official side, Iceland reimburses 20 percent of the costs incurred by film and TV producers. On top of that, “foreigners get more for their money”, Mr Thordarson said, given the soft economy and the devauled Icelandic krona.

A happy ending, Icelandic style.

Originally published by The Arctic Journal. Re-published here with the permission of the author.

The Rasmussen’s ArctiCulture articles offer a closer look at the arts and culture of the region.

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