EUFCN Location Award 2021 Finalist: Stadlandet

The majestic fjords of the Stadlandet Peninsula, surrounded by the Norwegian and North Seas, became the lush, storm-swept planet of Caladan in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.

Stadlandet is one of the finalists of the EUFCN Location Award 2021, the annual prize for European filming locations organized by the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN). The location was submitted by the Western Norway Film Commission.

©Andreas Duran / Destinasjon Nordfjord – ©Warner Bros Studios

In its sci-fi novel “Dune” (1965), Frank Herbert describes Caladan as “an ocean world”, the third planet orbiting the star Delta Pavonis, the ancestral home of House Atreides for twenty-six generations.

The production of Dune  came to Norway in August 2019 for the final segment of principal photography, shooting on location with local production service partners Truenorth Norway.

The distinctive coastal formation of the Stadlandet Peninsula, with its beaches, sea cliffs and verdant natural pastures provides a rich contrast to the desert-ridden planet of Arrakis.

©Andreas Duran / Destinasjon Nordfjord

Standlandet, in Norway’s Vestland, sits 1600 feet above sea level. Above the mountain plateau is Tarvaldsegga Peak, a 2116-foot peak with a cliff that drops over a thousand feet down into the North Sea. The area is known as Stad by locals and is renowned for its scenic vistas.

“Talking with Denis Villeneuve, it was important to give Caladan a feeling of melancholia”, says production designer Patrice Vermette to Movie Maker Magazine.

“I shared with him the idea of the Canadian autumn season on the coast: misty, overcast skies define dramatic coastal mountain ranges and cliffs. The forests are tall with Norwegian Pines. It isn’t too cold, but we are definitely heading toward the end of a cycle… or the beginning of a new one. The location that telegraphed these emotions best ended up being the North West Coastline of Norway. We felt a balance between the architecture of our castle and nature.”

©Andreas Duran / Destinasjon Nordfjord

The filmmakers returned to Norway in the fall to capture aerial footage of the misty coast, with the Castle Caladan integrated beneath the singular Kinnaklova mountain cliff, on Kinn Island.

The island, inhabited permanently by only a couple of people and a herd of goats, has always been a guiding point for sailors along the coast. At the base of the massive mountain lies the Kinn Church from the Middle Ages.

Kinn Island ©Fjordkysten

Dune  adds a new layer of mystique to Stadlandet, which is home to the legend of St Sunniva; the patron saint of Western Norway. Like Caladan, Stadlandet is known for its windy climate and fertile oceans. Surrounded by treacherous currents, in earlier times, Vikings would drag their boats across the peninsula to avoid crossing the dangerous patch of sea. They launched their ships from the very same beach as where Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is seen taking his contemplative walk: And so it is that Dune‘s Caladan beach is named Drage – after the viking ships’ dragon head.

The general public has now the chance to vote for their favourite location among the 5 in the EUFCN Location Award shortlist:

Berlin for The Queen’s GambitBerlin Brandenburg Film Commission (GERMANY)

Cahir Castle for The Green KnightScreen Ireland (IRELAND)

Kornati National Park for MurinaFilming in Croatia (CROATIA)

Malaga for The Crown (Season 4) – Andalucía Film Commission (SPAIN)

Stadlandet for DuneWestern Norway Film Commission (NORWAY)

A lucky name will be picked among the voters and will have the chance to visit the best European filming location of 2021.

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 95 European film commissions and film institutions from 31 different countries.