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The Icelandic Film Centre unveils its ambitious 2020-2030 Film Policy


- The document, now available in English, identifies four main goals to bring the Icelandic industry to the next level as well as a series of concrete actions to pursue them

The Icelandic Film Centre unveils its ambitious 2020-2030 Film Policy
Lilja D Alfredsdóttir, Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture who appointed the committee to create the policy

This month, the Icelandic Film Centre (IFC) has finally published the English version of “Icelandic Film Policy from 2020 to 2030,” a document originally unveiled in October 2020 and disclosing some important strategic actions set to boost the country’s audiovisual sector.

According to the official announcement published on the body’s website in the spring of 2019, Lilja D. Alfredsdóttir, Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture, appointed a committee of representatives from both the government and the industry to create a new, comprehensive policy for filmmaking and film culture in Iceland until 2030. These representatives were tasked to elaborate an action plan set to cover “film culture, film education, the development and production of films and TV projects, and the international promotion of Iceland as a location for filming.” Before compiling the document, the committee worked on listening to the inputs of the industry through “a number of meetings held with prominent stakeholders,” a survey involving 500 participants and an in-depth analysis of the current legislation, policies, reports as well as some theoretical material (both domestic and foreign).

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The policy outlines four main goals to achieve: to create a thriving and diverse film culture that promotes the nation’s identity and supports its language; to strengthen film and media literacy at all levels; to be in a stronger competitive position; to make filmmaking in Iceland known internationally for its artistic quality and strong stories in which the local reality reflects universal human values, to be built upon the development of the island as a year-round location and targeted promotion abroad.

The first objective will be achieved through different steps which include the reinforcement of the funding system “to support a more diverse range of productions and more equality of opportunity,” the establishment of a new investment fund as well as the coordination of support schemes to stimulate growth.

On the first step, reported that Iceland’s government has increased the body’s total budget by 39.8% between 2020-2021, topping €11.0 million (1.569 billion Icelandic crowns) and approved a budget of €10.8 million (1.540 million Icelandic crowns) for 2022. In parallel, overall funding for local film and TV projects increased by 39% between 2020-21, from €7.6 million (1.084 billion Icelandic crowns) to €10.5 million (1.497 billion Icelandic crowns), with €10.3 million (1.469 billion Icelandic crowns) allocated for 2022. In broader terms, 2022 funding across all formats is stable with €5.6 million (798 million Icelandic crowns) for feature films and shorts, €2.9 million (413 million Icelandic crowns) for TV series and €1.8 million (256 million Icelandic crowns) for documentaries.

Meanwhile, the document reveals that the proposed investment fund, set to be administered by the IFC, will be expected to invest in up to three series per year “for the time being,” but up to 10-12 series per year in the near future.

The goal to “create a thriving film culture” will be also achieved thanks to the strengthening of the Icelandic film database (set to lay the foundations for a national streaming service) and the operations of arthouse cinemas and festivals.

Increased media literacy will be pursued through a greater availability of film education opportunities by “establishing university-level film education,” “promoting critical thinking and creativity” with digital study materials, based on foreign models and available at all levels as well as by “creating more specialised and flexible education at upper secondary level.”

To make the industry more competitive, the policy document promises to strengthen reimbursement schemes and develop tax incentives and film clusters as well as to improve “economic indicators and the availability of statistics,” while creating a sustainable, flexible working environment.

The last objective – “making Icelandic filmmaking a well-known international brand” – will require the creation of targeted international campaigns “based upon storytelling traditions and sustainable filmmaking,” to encourage family-friendly filmmaking but also to create a wage fund for screenwriters and directors, which will enable these professionals to apply for artists’ salaries, as in other artistic disciplines. The ultimate size of the fund will be assessed in due course, but it accounts for 70 monthly salaries per year to begin with. The aim is for this fund to be included in a bill concerning artists’ salaries, which is expected to be submitted to the local Parliament in 2023.

You can access the full document here: 

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