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Iceland and Poland to Resume Production in Coming Week

Iceland will open filming to overseas crews while Poland plans to resume domestic production

Iceland’s film commission announced on Wednesday that it is making plans to allow international film crews to return starting on May 15, while the Polish Film Institute announced that it will allow domestic film and TV productions to resume next week.

Starting on May 15, any professionals arriving in Iceland, including filmmakers, can receive an exemption from home quarantine through their company provided they comply with the country’s additional safety procedures on their production sites. The new quarantine procedures were published by the Directorate of Health and Chief Epidemiologist for Iceland.

“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,” Iceland’s minister of tourism, industry and innovation Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir said in a statement.

The decision comes as domestic film productions have already resumed in Iceland with the rate of COVID-19 infections staying contained. So far, Iceland has required international travelers to stay in quarantine for two weeks, the maximum amount of time health officials believe COVID-19 lasts in the human body. However, now that strong testing procedures have been implemented, international film crews will have the option to get tested for the virus in lieu of the quarantine period. All international flights in the small island nation come through a single airport in the capital of Reykjavik, allowing for easy monitoring.

Beginning on June 15, Iceland will further ease travel restrictions and give travelers the option of a two-week quarantine or a COVID-19 test upon arrival to prove they are free of infection.

In Poland, where international travel remains restricted, filming will resume on May 18, the same day that restaurants and hair salons will be allowed to reopen. Productions are advised to have crew members where masks as much as possible and to schedule shooting so that only essential crew members for any given scene are on set to avoid large groups of people.

While Hollywood and other major filming sites have been forced to stay closed as the pandemic continues, Iceland has been able to resume production thanks to a mix of low population, a lack of densely populated areas, and a strong testing system. Among the projects that have already resumed are “Katla,” a new Icelandic Netflix series from “Adrift” director Baltasar Kormákur. Additional information on reopening international production will be provided by Iceland’s film commission in the coming days.

Iceland has been a popular filming location around the world, including for major Hollywood productions. Recent “Star Wars” films like “The Last Jedi” and “Rogue One” were filmed there, as well as upcoming films like the third “Fantastic Beasts” movie. While Poland has not been as frequently used by Hollywood as a filming site, the country has yielded four films in the last decade that have been nominated for the Best International Film Oscar, including Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” in 2018.