Country offers 20% rebate on local spend.

Oblivion had hardly left, before Noah arrived. Film in Iceland, the country’s official film commission, is looking forward to the busiest year ever servicing international film productions, which benefit from the 20% state refund of all costs incurred during the Iceland shoot.

“Obviously the 20% incentive is one important reason for international producers to choose Iceland; the others are the great variety of landscapes within a one-two hour radius, the availability of local experienced crews, and the weak currency,” explained head of Film in Iceland, film commissioner Einar Hansen Tomasson.

“Here, within short distances, you will find black sand beaches, lack deserts, caves, green valleys, sulphur mountains, snow, glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. That is why Iceland has stood in for the Poles, Alaska, Greenland, Russia, Siberia, Minnesota, Iwo Jima, Himalaya, adding speculative lands of magic or the future.”

Tom Cruise is just one of the famous Hollywood actors who has filmed in the island, starring in US director Joseph Kosinski’s scifi-adventure-actioner Oblivion, about a veteran soldier sent to a distant planet to destroy the remains of an alien race. The $140 million Chernion Entertainment, Ironhead Studios and Radical Pictures production mainly shot in Louisiana. It co-stars Morgan Freeman and Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Rolling since July is US director Darren Aronofsky’s sixth feature, the $130 million Noah, retelling the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark, with Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins in the leads. Disruption Entertainment, New Regency Pictures and Protozoa Pictures are backing the production.

US director Ben Stiller [pictured] will fly in next month with crew and cast for his James Thurber adaptation, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Stiller will himself play the lead as a timid photo manager on true-life adventure produced by Redhouse Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox.

This winter Iceland will also provide locations to Game of Thrones, the US television series about seven noble families fighting for control of the mythical island of Westeros which has previously filmed episodes on the island. Created by David Benioff and DB Weiss, the HBO show stars Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams and Michelle Fairley.

With a population of 319,575 - the size of a London suburb - Iceland is otherwise a film nation on its own: with a per capita attendance of 4.75, the Icelanders are the world’s most frequent cinema-goers, and the local film industry produces up to 14 full-length films annually.