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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with 'Film In Iceland' Film Commissioner Einar Hansen Tómasson @ 66th Berlinale

When people ask what happens at film markets such as Berlinale and Cannes, I always say: “everything!” And that is true. Sure, it's sales agents selling to buyers and buyers trying to fill their territory's content space, but it's also producers packaging and/or selling their films to sales agents, financiers looking for their next films, film lawyers hunting their next lawsuit, location scouts recruiting producers to film in their country, film stars promoting their latest film, Above The Line talent looking for their next job, journalists writing all the news and much much more. Just about everyone in film has business at world markets such as Berlin, so I wanted to shine light on someone very important in the industry, Einar Hansen Tómasson, who attended the 66th Berlinale to recruit film productions to his beautiful country, Iceland.


I interviewed Einar about is work at Berlinale to recruit filming in Iceland; this is what he has to say:

ME: Can you tell about the incentives for filming in Iceland ?

EINAR: Reimbursements are offered for film and TV production costs incurred in Iceland. Producers can apply for reimbursements from the State Treasury of 20% of the costs incurred in the production of films and television programs in Iceland. The reimbursement scheme does not cover production of commercials or music videos. Production costs refers to all costs incurred in Iceland deductible from the revenues of enterprises pursuant to the provisions of the Act on Income and Net Wealth Tax. Payments pertaining to employees and contractors are only to be included in production costs if they are verifiably taxable in Iceland.

ME: What are the TV series and films that have been shot there in the last 5-10 years? 

EINAR: Examples of Production in Iceland: 

a.      Star Wars VII

b.      Fortitude

c.      Game of Thrones

d.      Sense8

e.      Captain America

f.       The Huntsman

g.      Money Monster

h.      Halo Nightfall

i.       The Shamer’s Daughter

j.       Interstellar

k.      Star Trek Into Darkness

l.       Batman Begins

m.     Die Another Day

n.      Tomb Raider

o.      Tree of Life

p.      Summer in Iceland

q.      Thor 2: The Dark World

r.       Noah

s.       The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

t.       Jupiter Ascending

u.       Transformers: Age of Extinction

v.       Prometheus

w.      After Earth

x.       Journey To The Center of Earth

y.       Flags of our Fathers

z.       The Last Witch Hunter

ME: is it rough weather and terrain conditions to shoot there ?

EINAR: While benefiting from the dramatic light of its northern latitude Iceland enjoys a surprisingly mild climate, thanks to the warm oceanic Gulf stream. Of course the weather can be challenging but that also adds value to the dramatic landscape. Iceland’s nature and elements can be challenging, and will demand your respect.

ME: Why should more productions come to Iceland to film?

EINAR: For film producers, the best part is that the varied scenery is not far apart and easily accessible. The variety of the landscape means that a short drive can take you from black beaches, through lush greenery and colorful towns, into barren highlands or towards glacial tongues and majestic mountains. Producers know that the film infrastructure in Iceland is top quality and all the productions shot in Iceland confirm that. Finally the reimbursement scheme is simple, transparent and effective.

ME: How did you get involved with recruiting for Iceland as a film locale?

EINAR: It just happened 12 years ago that I was asked to take the role as the Icelandic Film Commissioner and change our efforts from being reactive to more proactive.

ME: Can you speak about local talent/artists coming out of Iceland that international audiences might be familiar with ?

EINAR: Directors like Baltasar Kormakur(Everest), Grimur Hakonarsson(Rams) and Benedikt Erlingsson (Of Horses and Men). Then actors like Olafur Darri Olafsson(The Last Witch Hunter and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson(Fortitude) and Ingvar E. Sigurdsson(Everest). Post production wizard Dadi Einarsson(Everest, Gravity and Harry Potter), Editor Valdis Oskarsdottir(Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Composer Johann Johannsson(The Theory of Everything and Sicario) just to name some.

ME: What are the country's objectives in the next 5-10 years as a film location?

EINAR: To keep doing our best – can’t share our strategy :)


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