Products & Services Oct 03, 2014

How Iceland Became a Hollywood Hot Spot

Forbes explores some of Iceland's more unique benefits to filmmakers.

It’s no secret that Iceland has become a go-to filming location for blockbuster films. Recent hits like Prometheus; Noah, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Game of Thrones, and Batman Begins were all filmed in Iceland. And Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film Interstellar, out November 7, was also filmed in the land of fire & ice.

Iceland’s popularity as a filming destination has risen along with the country’s economic recovery, and Forbes reports that this is no coincidence. Einar Hansen Tómasson, Iceland’s Film Commissioner, has “spearheaded the country’s campaign to make Iceland a goto location for shoots, and the government is doing all it can to attract big studios.” Why? When the Game of Thrones crew was in Iceland, for example, it resulted in an extra 3,000 hotel nights and 500 rental cars, and more than $8 million.

Aside from its incredibly diverse and beautiful landscapes, Iceland offers some other unique benefits to filmmakers. For one, Icelanders are used to “rolling up their sleeves and doing what needs to be done,” says Dadi Einarsson, the founder of Reykjavik Visual Effects (RVX). Not only does his company offer hardworking professionals with experience working on films like Gravity and Austrailia, but their very competitive price (as compared with competitors in NYC and London) also gives them a leg up.

One reason RVX is able to offer such low prices is because of Iceland’s low-cost data centers. It takes an enormous amount of processing power for visual effects companies to render final products and as a result, most companies like RVX have to pay for expensive servers hosted in data centers. But in Iceland, things are different.

With a naturally cold climate and power from 100% renewable resources, Icelandic power centers like Verne Global are able to offer incredibly low prices for data storage. While the biggest cost for most data centers around the world is cooling (servers and processors are always heating up and need to stay cool in order to function), Verne Global harnesses Iceland’s naturally cool climate to cool its machines and utilizes 100% renewable power provided by Iceland’s national power company, Landsvirkjun. RVX can access cheaper energy and feel good about doing something good for the environment at the same time.