Estonia determined to attract foreign productions
At a recent film industry conference entitled Everyone's Talking About Film! - which took place in Tallinn - Estonia’s film and TV production industry decided the time is right for the country to start offering cash rebates to foreign productions.
Organised by the Estonian National Film Producers' Association and the Estonian Film Institute, the conference consisted of presentations and panels focusing on the current state of Estonian feature film production, new production models and alternative distribution channels.
Estonia has done a lot in recent years to increase the amount of productions in the region. The Viru Film Fund, the first regional film fund in the country, was established in 2013 and supported five local and foreign productions during its first year. Additionally, the Tartu Regional Film Fund is expected to be announced shortly and fulfil a similar role.
Based on this, attendees established that a national cash rebate fund was needed in order to attract foreign productions to shoot in Estonia – proposals for this will be passed on to the government by the various organisations attending.
The other main obstacle which was identified as hindering the attraction of foreign producers was the lack of a film studio. However, four different projects are currently in development, two of them in the capital Tallinn, one in Tartu, and one in the eastern border-town of Narva.
Estonia’s Ministry of Culture has indicated recently that it is to allocate up to €4m to develop a better infrastructure for the audiovisual industry; sustainability will be factored in when it comes to the allocaton. The Ministry of Economics, Enterprise Estonia (funded by the European Regional Development Fund), the Ministry of Finance and private businesses were also named as possible financiers.
Attendees also agreed on offering a greater competitive advantage when it comes to distributing Estonian films to a global audience, for example through the establishment of an audiovisual export agency, collaborating with currently existing film industry institutions and financed with the support of the European Regional Development Fund.
Another proposition to make Estonian productions more competitive abroad is increased co-operation between commercial film producers and the Estonian Public Broadcasting channel to produce high-quality TV dramas and films.
The conference was broadcast live on the culture portal of Estonian Public Broadcasting where the recording is still available.
For more on filming in Estonia, go to our production guide.
We would like to thank Leana Jalukse of the Estonian Film Commission for her help in compiling this article.