Icelandic Film Industry Sees 80% Growth in Ten Years Skip to content
Katla Netflix/Lilja Jónsdóttir
Photo: Netflix/Lilja Jónsdóttir.

Icelandic Film Industry Sees 80% Growth in Ten Years

The operating revenue of the Icelandic film industry has grown by 80% over the past ten years. “A giant leap in a relatively brief period of time,” the editor of the trade publication Klapptré told RÚV.

Considerable growth

In the last ten years, the Icelandic film industry has grown by ISK 15 billion ($107 million / €99 million) in operating revenues. As noted by Statistics Iceland, the operating revenue of the Icelandic film industry totalled ISK 12 billion ($85 million / €79 million) in 2012, compared to ISK 27.8 billion ($198 million / €183 million) in 2021.

Operating revenue refers to, “the total amount that a company registers to its books during the reference period and corresponds to the sale of goods or services to third parties, including export earnings.”

“A giant leap”

“There are fluctuations between years, but over a ten-year period – this is quite the leap,” Ásgrímur Sverrisson, editor of the trade journal Klapptré, told RÚV.

As noted by RÚV, the film industry is by far the largest cultural industry in Iceland today. Following closely behind is the media sector, with a turnover of approximately ISK 18 billion ($128 million / €119 million). Design and architecture have also experienced significant growth over the last decade.

The growth within the film industry is exemplified by the substantial increase in the number of operators, which now stands at nearly 800. “Just the other day, there was a general meeting of the directors’ association; before there were a few dozen directors. Today, there were around 200 people,” Ásgrímur remarked.

Besides the state’s reimbursement policy, and the efforts of employees and production companies, streaming services have also played a significant role in the growth of the Icelandic film industry: “They have certainly played their part in all of this, most notably the production of Katla, which was domestic content produced by Netflix.”

When asked if this meant that the long-awaited “summer of Icelandic film” (i.e. golden era) had finally arrived, Ásgrímur replied: “The fact is, that it has been spring, summer, autumn – and then winter, again and again.”

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