In an age of streaming services and social media, cinema is more important than ever. The unique experience of cinema is a tradition that has lasted for hundreds of years. The cinema experience means becoming fully immersed in a story, watching and reacting with others, all without the distraction of phones or conversations. There’s still something unique about cinema and the theatrical experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Icelandic cinema is booming with the Icelandic film industry regularly releasing around four domestic films per year. It has a history of success stories, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991 for Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s Children of Nature, and writer-director Grímur Hákonarson’s beautifully crafted Rams which took home an award at Cannes in 2015.

In addition to local films, Iceland has quickly become an important location for international production. Movie studios and production companies like 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm Ltd are flocking to make use of the stunning and unique landscapes of Iceland in all sorts of films, from science-fiction and fantasy films to big-budget Hollywood productions. One of the most famous TV shows to film in Iceland was, of course, Game of Thrones, and key locations used in the series have become popular tourist spots.

One such location is the Grjótagjá caves in northern Iceland - a collection of three small caves located near Lake Mývatn. The caves are home to some of the most beautiful geothermal pools in the world and were featured in Game of Thrones in the scene where Jon Snow and Ygritte first fell in love. The caves are in close proximity to each other, with two of them just 50 meters apart, and are located on Vogar farmland.


The Grjótagjá caves in northern Iceland are home to some of the most beautiful geothermal pools in the world and were made famous after appearing on Game of Thrones.


Sitting on the tectonic divide between Europe and America, the caves were first discovered back in the 18th century when the outlaw Jón Markússon made them his home.  

The Iceland Movie Pavilion competition is running in collaboration with the Landeigendur Voga ehf, who are the current landowners of Vogar farmland. For this competition, Buildner is asking participants to submit designs for a movie pavilion that could be constructed in this beautiful location in Iceland.

The pavilion should reflect the essence of Icelandic cinema, its distinctive character, and unique history, with the central focus being a small movie theatre capable of hosting up to 50 visitors.


The competition site is located 100 meters from the Grjótagjá caves. 

The pavilion would need to be a place to introduce visitors to Icelandic cinema, as well as offer fans a place to gather and share their passion for film. This could take the form of a small gallery or event space with a cafe or bar that could cater to guests. Participants are encouraged to consider these requirements to make the space engaging and inviting, as well as functional. Iceland’s distinctive and remarkable landscapes and natural landmarks should be an inseparable part of the final concept.

Download the full competition brief for more information! 

The competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English.

Iceland Movie 
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Iceland Movie