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Iceland

Iceland Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Iceland? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Iceland? See below for an introduction to Iceland locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Iceland Film Locations

Iceland offers a great variety of dramatic, otherworldly locations within a short distance from each other. The “land of fire and ice” is famous for its geothermal hot springs, lakes, active volcanoes, lava fields, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls, bright green fields, pink and black sand beaches, salmon-filled rivers, picturesque fishing villages, whale watching, and Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) viewing.

Iceland has hosted a long, impressive list of films and TV shows including Game of Thrones, Star Wars Episode VII, Interstellar, Oblivion, Prometheus, Batman Begins, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: The Dark World, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Die Another Day, and Flags of our Fathers.

The Ring Road that circles the island allows for quick and easy road access to many of the best film locations in Iceland.

Film locations can be divided by the following regions:

Reykjavik

The capital Reykjavik is the main production centre and everything must travel from there. Reykjavik is one of the windiest cities on earth. Locations of note in Reykjavik include Hallgrimskirkja church, rotating Perlan glass dome, Harpa concert hall, and the Sun Voyager sculpture. Mount Esja overlooks the city.

The nearby Akurey and Lundey islands are known for their puffin populations.

South Iceland

Iceland’s best known tourist destination Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is located a 45min drive southwest of Reykjavik.

Skaftafell is a wilderness area in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park. Its huge glaciers include Skaftafellsjökull and Svínafellsjökull. Trails lead to Kristínartindar Mountain and to the Svartifoss waterfall, which tumbles over black basalt columns.

South Iceland is blessed with many magnificent waterfalls including Gullfoss, Hjálparfoss, Brúarfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Svartifoss, Skógafoss, and Háifoss.

Jökulsárlón is a bright blue glacial lake dotted with floating icebergs.

Eyjafjallajökull is an active volcano.

Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks framed by a striking black sand beach near the village Vík í Mýrdal.

The Great Geysir spouts water hundreds of feet into the air.

The Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck is a striking film location resting on a black sand beach.

The Hofskirkja Church in the village of Hof is a picturesque turf church.

Thridrangar is a lighthouse sitting atop a rock pillar.

Thingvellir National Park is home to Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake. Silfra and Davíðsgjá rift dives are two popular underwater photography locations. Öxarárfoss waterfall is also located in the park.

Landmannalaugar is a geothermal paradise in the Icelandic highlands Fjallabak Nature Reserve.

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a deep and winding river canyon that would feature well in a chase scene.

Northwest Iceland

Djúpalón Beach in Snæfellsjökull National Park is famed for its dramatic black sands and rock formations.

The remote Westfjords region is home to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, and Dynjandi (Fjallfoss) waterfalls, and Rauðasandur Beach known for its pink and red sand.

Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are two interesting waterfalls in this region.

North East Iceland

Mývatn volcanic lake area is known for its naturally heated lagoon, Hverfjall volcanic crater, and the geothermal areas of Námafjall, Hverir, and Námaskarð.

Ásbyrgi Canyon is a horseshoe-shaped glacial canyon home to pine, birch, and fir forests.

Waterfalls of note in this region include Dettifoss, and Goðafoss.

Iceland Film Location Permits

Most locations only take a few days for permission. Locking city streets and shooting in national parks can take up to 4 days but in urgent cases this can be expedited. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Iceland is cold, but not as cold as the name suggests. When viewed from a plane, Iceland is green (as opposed to Greenland, which is white). This climate is tempered by the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The south is the wettest part of the country where snow is rare. Coastal areas tend to experience windy weather. The summer months have almost continuous daylight. July and August are the warmest months. Early spring and late fall feature long twilight periods. From November until the end of January winter experiences only a few hours of daylight each day. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:

• Thorrablot in January / February.
• Reykjavik Icelandic Horse Festival in March / April.
• Bright Days Festival in June.
• Sjomannadagur Festival (Seafarers Day) in June.
• Jonsmessa celebrates the longest day of the year in June.
• September to March is the best time to photograph the Aurora Borealis.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Iceland.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Iceland is generally the least expensive of the Nordic countries. The financial crisis of 2008–11 heavily devalued Iceland’s currency making it a more cost competitive film destination than it was years in the years before that. The USD remains very strong against the Icelandic Krona. Our Reykjavik based fixer / service producer will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. There is a 25% rebate on costs incurred in Iceland on films, TV productions and documentaries. This at present does not apply to TV commercials or music videos.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Iceland has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Local crews are non-union. Icelandic crews are known to be skilled, creative and resourceful. They are known for their no-nonsense, straightforward approach. Crews all speak fluent English. Iceland’s close proximity to other major European production centres allows easy access to those crews should you ever need to look further.

Contact us if you are looking for a Reykjavik based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in Iceland.

Talent. There is an actors union but models are non-union. Day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a case by case basis. Iceland has mainly Nordic looking talent. Most other looks need to be brought in.

Fringes are 13.98% and consist of 3 items (pension fund, social security contribution and health and insurance fund).

Premiums. Crews work a twelve-hour shoot day and time and a half after that. No night or holiday premiums.

Iceland Film Equipment

Iceland is Arri based. Most standard camera, lighting and grip equipment is available locally. More specialised equipment such as Technocrane, Motion Control, Spacecam can be easily brought in from London. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Iceland is an ATA carnet country.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is of a very high standard although Iceland tends to attract productions with its locations.

Studios. Most filming in Iceland is location based. There are some good local studios such as Atlantic Studios.

Backlots. There is a viking village film set near the town of Höfn.

Post Production. Iceland has some post facilities.

Visas & Work Permits

Iceland is a Schengen Area member state. Work permits are generally not required for filming short-form projects in Iceland. US film crews can enter visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. Contact your local Icelandic embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads are well maintained and traffic is scarce. Iceland has one major road that loops around the country linking all the main towns. Our Icelandic fixer / producer can quickly arrange safe and reliable 4WD or helicopter transport for journeys to more remote film locations. Several international carriers service flights to Iceland. Reykjavik is a 3 hour flight from London and 5 hours from New York.

Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Reykjavik. For longer stays we can also organise serviced apartments. Hotels of note include:

Hotel Thingholt

Final Notes

Safety. Iceland is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Explore the natural beauty of the island and visit a geothermal spa.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Iceland, please see below:

Hire Iceland Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Iceland, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Iceland, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.