Against the Ice Receives Half a Billion in Production Rebate

Still shot from 'Against the Ice'

The State Treasury reimbursed ISK 500,000,000 [$3.58 million; €3.58 million] in production costs for Against the Ice, an historical survival epic produced for Netflix by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur. RÚV reports that this is one of the largest film and television production reimbursements that the government has ever made—on par with the ISK 500,000,000 received by Fast 8 in 2017.

Two other productions, the TV series Washington Black and Stella Blomkvist, also received substantial reimbursements: ISK 217 million [$1.55 million; €1.55 million] and ISK 170 million [$1.22 million; €1.22 million], respectively.

See Also: True Detective Series Will Be Largest-Ever Foreign Investment in Icelandic Culture

All of these reimbursements pale in comparison, however, to the one that will be made for the production of the fourth season of HBO’s True Detective, which will film over nine months in Iceland with a budget of around ISK 9 billion [$64.8 million; €63.9 million]. Per the Icelandic Film Center’s reimbursement scheme, “Producers can apply for reimbursements from the State Treasury of 25% of the costs incurred in the production of films and television programs in Iceland, or 35% for production projects that meet given conditions.”

Based on a true story, Against the Ice is set in 1909 and follows two men’s trek across the Greenland ice cap to recover the records of the ill-fated Denmark expedition, which set out years before to chart the geography of Greenland. Beset by troubles of their own, the pair must survive in the Arctic while waiting for rescue that may never come. The film was directed by Peter Flinth, and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders). The film was shot predominantly in Iceland, although some filming was done in Greenland as well.

True Detective Series Will Be Largest-Ever Foreign Investment in Icelandic Culture

The upcoming series of HBO Max television show True Detective will be filmed in Iceland over a 9-month period for a budget of around ISK 9 billion [$64.8 million; €63.9 million]. The project entails the largest-ever foreign investment in culture in Iceland’s history. Minister of Culture Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir says the project is proof that government initiatives are helping put Iceland’s film industry on the map.

Fourth season set in Alaska

While it will be filmed in Iceland, the fourth season of True Detective is in fact set in Alaska, where the story follows detectives Liz Danvers (played by Jodie Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) as they investigate the disappearance of six men from a research station. True Detective has received praise from critics and audiences – and won five Emmy Awards.

Film rebate raised from 25% to 35%

Iceland’s government recently raised the repayment for production costs for films and TV series shot in the country from 25% to 35%. Iceland’s Culture Minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir presented this and other initiatives to members of the film and music industry on a recent trip to Los Angeles.

“I feel a lot of support here in Los Angeles with the initiatives we have been implementing in the last year or so to promote creative industries in Iceland,” Lilja stated. “The True Detective project is the largest foreign investment in the field of culture in Iceland’s history. With a clear vision and multifaceted actions, we are succeeding in making our country a highly respected partner in the world of cinema. International film companies are ready to invest in bigger, longer-term projects than they did. It is a huge victory for Icelandic culture and economy and confirmation that what the government is doing matters.”