PLZEN: The Estonian government has decided to give more funds for filmmaking, following the success of it’s one-off “Estonia 100” project to celebrate the country’s centennial of independence in 2018. Speaking at an Industry Days forum at the 31st Finale Plzen festival running through 24 April 2018, Estonian Film Institute director Edith Sepp said the decision was made just two weeks ago.
Estonia previously allotted 3.5 M EUR for film production, but increased that for the special “Estonia 100” project, to 9.2 M EUR. The idea behind that project, Sepp said, was to give a gift of film to the Estonian public. The result has been an increase in the box office and audience share for Estonian films, to as much as 30 percent.
The new funding will also have an impact on the amounts available for individual grants. Recognising the importance of minority coproductions, at least 500,000 EUR will be earmarked especially for them, with an average of 80,000 – 100,000 EUR going to a single film, and a top of 200,000 EUR for an exceptional coproduction with great international potential. Sepp said that they prefer minority coproductions that have Estonians in creative crew positions, or that use Estonian composers and sound studios. Baltic coproductions have been a recent development, Sepp noted, adding that they don’t generally coproduce with Germany because the financing is “too complicated.” Estonian majority productions can receive grants in the 700,000 EUR range.
Estonia also has two regional funds. Sepp, who is also the Chair of the Film New Europe Association, said that the regional fund in the north of the country focuses on Russian films. The fund in the southern part of Estonia now has a budget of 300,000 EUR. Along with those funds, Estonia now has one of the highest cash rebate systems in Europe, at 30 percent.