Norway enticing foreign film productions with boost in film incentives

Norway is seeing dollar signs after its first two incentive productions, The Snowman (the upcoming Jo Nesbø film) and Downsizing (starring Matt Damon), spent a total of €21 million shooting in Norway.

This has made the country giddy, so they’ve gone ahead and increased the budget for the rebate scheme. This sees the approximately €4.8 million budget, for its first year, increase to around €6.1 million for 2017, as part of the €53 million allocated for domestic film production.

Starting this year, international productions filming in Norway can apply for a 25% rebate on approved expenditure in Norway. The scheme is expected to increase films coming to Norway for their productions, thus promoting Norwegian culture, history, and above all – nature, while adding knowledge and experience to the industry.

There has been some backlash in the community regarding big-name productions filming in Norway. After the release of Disney’s Frozen, tourists flocked to remote regions in Norway to recreate the music video for Let it Go or perhaps spot their own Sven the reindeer.

But this has caused these remote regions – particularly the Lofoten Islands – to suffer under the added strain of tourists. In fact, tourism has increased by 20% with those numbers still climbing.

The Lofoten Islands are being overwhelmed by tourists, with the public facilities being exhausted and problems with waste disposal, public toilets and car parking. The environment is also taking a hit, with locals concerned about the severe erosion of paths leading to popular spots on the coastline.

Downsizing has been filming in the Lofoten Island, with Matt Damon’s presence causing a buzz for the small region.

There are new productions setting their sights on Norway, among which is His Dark Materials, a TV mini-series based on UK author Philip Pullman’s triology of children’s novel. The first novel of the series, The Northern Lights, has been previously adapted in The Golden Compass (2007), which was partially set in Norway.


Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.