Top 5 film locations in Estonia
Estonia has become a desirable location for filmmakers from around the world. Both natural landscapes and architectural backdrops are varied, ranging from forests and beaches to castles and manor houses.
The Estonian feature film Risttuules, directed by Martti Helde, is currently filming in the country.
Film commissioner Leana Jalukse outlines her top 5 film locations for KFTV.
Tallinn Old Town
The capital of Estonia, the city contains a variety of architectural styles, as early as Gothic. The town wall and some of the buildings date back to the 13th century. Tallinn strongly resembles small Bavarian towns such as Rothenburg and Nördlingen. The city has featured in films including Living Images (2013), December Heat and Candles in the Dark.
Patarei is situated in the centre of Tallinn, right on the seafront. A former stronghold, barracks and prison, it provides a suitable backdrop for horror films. Productions that have used Patarei include feature film King of Devil’s Island (2010), music video Halbon olla, episodes of Battle of the Psychics and feature film Jan Uuspõld läheb Tartusse
Haapsalu is a coastal town with a historic railway station. Although trains no longer run to Haapsalu, the beautiful wooden building has been renovated and a few railway tracks remain for the old trains to use. The town has a promenade with elegantly restored villas. The town has featured in films such as Names in Marble and The Leader’s Way, as well as starring in Russian TV series Issajev and a commercial for Le Coq Imperial Beer.
Estonia’s natural outline is partly comprised of over 700 km of coastline, cliff and beaches, all of which have been used extensively for filming locations. Matsiranna in Pärnumaa was the location choice for feature film The Poll Diaries (2010), for which a manor house on stilts was erected in the sea. Feature film Kertu, currently in post-production (see photo) used beaches at Saaremaa, while the fishing village of Altja played a lead role in the historical Estonian TV series Tuulepealne maa.
Castles and manor houses
Alatskivi is a fairytale castle – a scaled down copy of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, which featured in the feature film The Arbiter (2013). The film’s producers also chose the luxury hotel Ammende Villa. Kalvi manor and its surroundings on the northern coast of Estonia provided the backdrop for some scenes in the Norwegian production King of Devil’s Island (2010). Finnish feature film Hella W was shot at the grand manors of Palmse and Sagadi.