Iceland’s two step easing of restrictions on foreign productions coming to Iceland was announced last week by the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir.

Since May 15, foreign filmmaking crews are exempt from home quarantine if they comply with extensive requirements around their environment and apply safety health procedures on production sites. And starting June 15, foreign travellers will be given the choice between a two-week quarantine, being tested for Covid-19 upon arrival, or proving that they are free of coronavirus infection.

The measures are meant to counterbalance the loss in revenue from tourism - Iceland’s main export - and to stimulate the buoyant foreign filming activity, boosted by the country’s 25% reimbursement scheme, breath-taking locations and experienced production service crews.

Recent productions shot in Iceland include the Swedish/Icelandic TV series Thin Ice and HBO cult series Game of Thrones. 

Gylfadóttir said: “Iceland has become an increasingly popular location for international film-crews. We continue to encourage this trend with incentives because we value the experience and knowledge gained by our local crews and the economic impact for local communities and for the country as a whole. I am happy that in spite of Covid-19 we have managed, in cooperation with our health authorities, to provide a rare opportunity for international film-crews to continue work, while of course respecting all the precautions and measures we have put in place in order to make this possible."

Two TV series are currently filming: Baltasar Kormákur’s RVK Studios/Netflix series Katla and Vesturport/RÚV’s drama series Black Port. Both productions are applying the 2-meter social distancing rule, banning of groups of 50+ people, and other strict health safety measures, including Covid-19 testing. 

Film Commissioner Einar Hansen Tomasson, told that several projects are scheduled for filming this summer, although he couldn’t name them due to confidentiality rules. He confirmed that the government is looking into temporarily increasing the 25% reimbursement scheme to 35%, as suggested by the Association of Icelandic Film Producers.