Country Focus: Iceland
Iceland’s film industry objects to new cuts in public funding
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- The Association of Icelandic Film Producers, the Icelandic Film Makers Association and The Directors Guild of Iceland in a joint statement have called upon the Icelandic Althing (Parliament) to “overturn this proposal and show its belief in modern intellectual property industry,” after the new government has proposed to cut public film funding for cinema by 39% - from €6.8 million to €3.8 million – in the 2014 national budget.
“We don’t understand how the foundations for a modern thriving growth industry can be so suddenly demolished, so many jobs cut, and how a valuable foreign investment can be turned down,” the three associations said in a joint statement.
They presented a financial report concluding that if the cuts are approved by the parliament, the consequences will be the loss of more than 200 jobs in film production, €3.7 million less in tax income, and €3.1 million less in foreign income, starting next year.
Following the financial crisis in 2008, when state film support was slashed by 35%, the Icelandic Ministries of Culture and Finance in 2012 signed an agreement with the industry outlining a 62% increase of state subsidy until 2015, when it would amount to €4.3 million.
In spite of the decline in public funding, the film industry increased its turnover by 248% in two years, to reach €71.9 million in 2012, mainly due to shooting of international productions in the country, including Prometheus, Oblivion, Game of Thrones and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The industry directly linked a further 25% growth during the first months of 2013 to the doubling of the budget for the Icelandic Film Centre.