As the restrictions eased and country borders opened, the program quickly got back on track (pun intended). The numbers speak for themselves: since launch, there were 324 reimbursements, amounting to $1,006,636. While the first two years the program relied on local artists who've had small production costs, 2021 and 2022 accounted for around 70% of that payout, according to Leifur. "Most of the applications during Covid were from local artists and record labels but that was good for the program because [we] got it rolling smoothly before the big clients came in," the project manager explains.
There's also been an uptick in film and TV orchestral recordings. In fact, a famous Icelandic film composer moved back to Iceland during the pandemic and was able to stay in business for his foreign clients because the country had facilities to record the orchestra.
Going to Hollywood together with the director of the film refund program, Björnsson was able to meet with people who are planning to shoot movies in Iceland. "Cultivating these Hollywood relationships resulted in more audio productions of the highest caliber taking place in Iceland," he conveys. "There is a lot of interest amongst the major production companies in the US. We've already seen audio productions
here for Netflix and The BBC." There is a leading production coming to do its next score, and there are talks with a gaming giant.