Film industry associations say more than 200 jobs could be lost because of public film funding cuts.

The Icelandic film industry associations yesterday (October 4) turned sharply against the new government’s proposal to cut public film funding for cinema by 39% - from $8.4 million (ISK 1.018 million) to $5.14 million (ISK 0.624 million) - in the 2014 national budget.

“We don’t understand how the foundations for a modern thriving growth industry can be so suddenly demolished, so many jobs cut, and how a valuable foreign investment can be turned down,” said the Association of Icelandic Film Producers, the Icelandic Film Makers Association and The Directors Guild of Iceland in a joint statement.

A financial report presented by the associations concludes that if the 2014 state budget is cut as suggested, the consequences will be the loss of more than 200 jobs in film production, $5.1 million (ISK 615 million) less tax income, $4,2 million (ISK 500 millon) less foreign income, starting next year.

Following the financial crisis in 2008, state film support was slashed by 35%, but in 2012 Icelandic Ministries of Culture and Finance signed an agreement with the industry outlining a 62% increase of state subsidy until 2015, when it would amount to $5.7 million (ISK 700 million).

In spite of the decline in public funding, the film industry increased its turnover by 248% in two years, to reach $97.2 million (ISK 11.7 billion) in 2012, mainly due to shooting of international productions in the country, including Prometheus, Oblivion, Game of Thrones and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

The industry directly linked a further 25% growth during the first months of 2013 to the doubling of the budget for the Icelandic Film Fund, which has now been jeopardised - and called on the Icelandic Althing (Parliament) to “overturn this proposal and show its belief in modern intellectual property industry.”