A lack of financial incentives may stop filming of a television series about Vikings in Norway.
The programmes, made by the same producers behind The Tudors and Camelot, could be filmed abroad, largely in Ireland.
Other countries, such as Hungary and Bulgaria, encourage foreign filmmakers to come and work there with as much as a 20 percent rebate for costs incurred. This is non-existent in Norway.
Whilst unlikely famous Norwegian Vikings such as kingdom-unifier Harald Hårfagre had to put up with officials, probably finishing them off with weapons when they would not negotiate, film industry representatives do not know why Norway gives no incentives.
Sigmund Elias Holm, head of the West Norwegian Film Commission told Aftenposten, “It is strange that the state does so little to make conditions more productive for foreign film productions in Norway. ‘Vikings’ is a unique opportunity for the film industry to build up expertise and the Norwegian tourism industry to showcase its UNESCO-protected natural treasure.”
“Most of the series will be filmed in a studio in Ireland, but we want to use the Norwegian Fjords for the most spectacular natural images and scenes with the Vikings in their original environment,” said producer Morgan O’Sullivan told Aftenposten
He is still hopeful that a solution can be found that will allow the series to be filmed in Norway, however, and is also currently searching from actors from Scandinavia.
“We want the Vikings to look authentic and are therefore looking for Scandinavian actors with the Viking look,” he announced.
The series will focus on King Ragnar Lodbrok, with the first 13 episodes being shown on the History Channel in the United States.
According to Norway's Minister of Culture, Anniken Huitfeldt, "The countries with the least direct support and most tax incentives are those where the economy is the worst. I believe more in direct support as a cultural policy tool. We are a high-cost country, both with and without tax incentives, so it's not that which will be crucial to bring filming here. We believe that the expertise built up over the last few years is what determines the choice of Norway as a country for this."
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