Country Focus: Iceland
Film tax credit increased to 20%
by Annika Pham
21/04/2009 - The Icelandic government approved early April the increase of the existing 14% filming tax credit to 20%, to make Iceland more competitive with other international shooting locations.
Producers of film and television programmes can now apply for reimbursement from the Icelandic State Treasury for 20% of their production spend in Iceland. Since the country is a member of the European Economic Area, film and TV projects shot locally can receive European content status.
The increase of the production rebate, now on par with most European countries, is a victory for the Icelandic film industry, which had been lobbying the government over the past few months.
“I think it is very positive that the increase from 14% to 20% was passed as law in the Icelandic parliament,” Laufey Guðjónsdóttir, head of the Icelandic Film Centre, told Cineuropa. “The country and its population are small, but the infrastructure is solid and it can easily handle servicing besides our own productions.”
Skúli Malmquist, producer of Dagur Kári’s upcoming The Good Heart, also said he was very pleased with this initiative that “will help Iceland in times of trouble, as well as Icelandic productions.” However, he pointed out, “one has to bear in mind that production grants from the Icelandic Film Centre and the 20% tax incentive combined cannot exceed 50% of the overall budget because of European law. So for smaller films this will often not have an impact, but for bigger productions it is very important.”
Past major US productions shot in Iceland include Journey to the Centre of the Earth 3D and Clint Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers. The next mega-project that will certainly apply for the new 20% incentive is the $50-70m English-language Viking by Iceland’s top filmmaker/producer Baltasar Kormákur, produced by US company 26 Films.