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STOCKFISH 2024

At Stockfish, industry reps take stock of Icelandic film policy from 2020-2030

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- The session surveying the health of the local film industry was followed by the launch of Massif, a brand-new location scouting platform

At Stockfish, industry reps take stock of Icelandic film policy from 2020-2030
Hilmar Sigurdsson during the session (© Stockfish)

On 12 April, Reykjavik’s Stockfish Film & Industry Festival (4-14 April) hosted an event taking stock of the first three years of Icelandic film policy from 2020-2030.

The latest update on the current status of the local film policy focused on four different objectives: creating “a thriving film culture”; fostering “a more diverse and ambitious film education”; gaining “a stronger competitive position” while ensuring “a better working environment”; and making Iceland “a well-known international brand”.

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A number of topics were covered, including Skrín, the new streaming service for Icelandic films; increased support for festivals, workshops and industry days nationwide; the development of the Icelandic Film Centre’s (IFC’s) data dashboard; and the creation of the Nordic Anonymised Revenue Database (NARD), a collaboration between the five Nordic film institutes and the Nordisk Film & TV Fund, among other partners. NARD aims to collect and analyse revenue data from film and TV productions supported by the Nordic funds.

In terms of sustainability, in 2021, the IFC joined green.film, a rating system and certification for sustainable film production. In 2022, the IFC, in collaboration with TorinoFilmLab, Creative Europe and green.film, hosted a green film lab in Iceland. As of 2024, it is mandatory to submit a sustainability plan in order to apply for production grants in Iceland. Besides this, the IFC sealed a partnership with the Green Producers Club, launching a pilot project aimed at mapping and reducing the carbon footprint associated with IFC-backed productions.

Next, Association of Icelandic Film Producers rep Hilmar Sigurdsson shared some key figures about the current health of the Icelandic film industry. Over the last few years, the Icelandic Film Fund has faced severe budget cuts (-42% over the period 2021-2024). Today, the fund’s budget stands at 1.462 billion Icelandic crowns (approximately €9.75 million).

Production turnover increased by 140% between 2017 and 2024 (equivalent to 16 billion Icelandic crowns, or €107 million). Meanwhile, reimbursements have increased by close to 200% (equivalent to 1.9 billion Icelandic crowns, or €12.7 million).

Foreign projects took the majority of reimbursements (62% between 2017 and 2024), whilst documentaries (29%) and other domestic projects (9%) maintained a similar ratio over time.

Moreover, Olsberg SPI figures highlight how film productions generate foreign sales and that the income in foreign currency is considerably higher than the total government contribution to the film industry. In other words, every Icelandic crown invested generates 6.8 crowns in other revenues.

Contributions to RÚV, Iceland’s pubcaster, have risen annually in line with the increase in population and inflation. However, the intended cut to the Film Fund in 2025 puts it on a par with 2009 figures, calculated based on January 2024 price indexes.

Sigurdsson underscored how, back in 2008, “the Film Fund and some other cultural institutions and competitive funds were almost on par”, whilst “differences are noticeable today”. On a more positive note, R&D support grew from 1.5 billion Icelandic crowns (€10 million) to 16.5 billion (€110 million).

The Icelandic film policy event was followed by presentations courtesy of Film in Iceland and Record in Iceland, and by the launch of Massif, a brand-new location scouting platform (see the news).

“Massif Network serves as a revolutionary bridge connecting creative professionals with the world’s most awe-inspiring locations. Designed for filmmakers, photographers and visionaries, our platform simplifies the discovery, research and organisation of photo and video shoots, particularly in remote and underexplored areas,” Massif CEO Steinarr Logi Nesheim told Cineuropa.

Massif’s mission is to become “the definitive global destination for creative location scouting. […] By harnessing detailed environmental data and immersive visuals, we aim to empower creatives to bring their visions to life effortlessly,” continued Logi Nesheim.

Speaking about the launch at Stockfish, he added: “I was privileged to share how Massif is tackling the industry’s longstanding challenges head-on. I discussed our platform’s unique ability to provide detailed insights, from precise climate data to the exact position of the sun at the golden hour, all tailored to simplify the creative process. I also unveiled our upcoming features, including a global location directory and collaborative tools, which are set to further streamline production planning and execution.

“Massif's journey from concept to reality was fuelled by a collaborative spirit. Alongside my co-founder, Kidda Rokk, and the tech-savvy Guðmundur Stefán, we leveraged our collective experiences to address the creative industry’s most pressing pain points. Our initial partnership with local production companies in Iceland laid the groundwork, but as we expand, we're actively seeking global partners. Our aim is to build a comprehensive network that supports creatives wherever their projects may take them, making Massif a truly international platform.”

For Logi Nesheim, “Massif is more than a platform”; it is a “commitment to transforming the creative landscape. […] Our goal is to democratise access to unique filming locations, making it possible for projects of all scales to find their ideal backdrop. As we look to the future, Massif is excited to welcome new users and partners into our growing community. We believe that by collaborating, we can overcome the traditional barriers to creative production, making the process more accessible and inspiring for everyone involved,” he summed up.

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