Historic Dutch feature Nova Zembla films in 3D on location in Iceland
Dutch feature Nova Zembla has doubled Iceland for northern Russia and captured everything in 3D. The film charts the exploits of 16th Century explorer Willem Barentsz, who stranded his ship on the Russian islands of Novaya Zemlya when he tried to find a northern passage to Asia.
While much of the film was shot in the Netherlands, Iceland was used for crucial scenes in which Barentsz and his crew used wood from their ship to construct a small cabin that they used as shelter in a bid to survive the Russian winter. The production filmed partly on a remote glacier and had to spend nearly a week opening a road to the location before the 14-day shoot.
Checking for fissures in the ice was one of the biggest safety concerns, but we had all the relevant rescue people on hand and we’re very experienced in this environment.
Kristinn Thordarson, Executive Producer
Kristinn Thordarson was Executive Producer for Sagafilm in Reykjavik: “We started filming on the last day of winter, so the ice and snow was melting as we went. We had eight-wheel trucks to transport everything in what was like a military operation. Checking for fissures in the ice was one of the biggest safety concerns, but we had all the relevant rescue people on hand and we’re very experienced in this environment.”
Working around the spring thaw the crew adjusted specific shooting spots according to where the best snow was found. Another concern was that the melting ice from the glacier produced a lake of melt-water near the filming location so the conditions had to be constantly monitored.
Iceland remains a global production hub and in the last year has hosted high-profile projects including Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and HBO’s hit TV show Game of Thrones. The country’s filming incentive programme was renewed in December.
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