FNE at Cannes IFF 2012: Martin Aadamsoo talks to FNE about the new Estonian Film Commission


    CANNES: Estonia recently established a new film commission to attract productions to the country. According to the commission's helmer Martin Aadamsoo the Estonians plan to put a different twist on this by also establishing Estonia as a high end post production center that will attract AV business to the country not only to shoot but to make the whole production process in Estonia.

    The Estonian Film Commission (www.filmestonia.eu) was set up by the Estonian Film Foundation (www.efsaa.ee), the Baltic Film and Media School (www.bfm.ee) and Estonian film producers. It aims to sell Estonia as a destination for all types of AV production; film, TV, commercials, music videos, post production, CGI, etc.

    At present two or three foreign features a year shoot in Estonia. "Our goal is to double that," said Aadamsoo. "I could describe Estonia as Scandinavia for 30-40% less. We have a reliable working culture and a no nonsense approach that filmmakers like." Aadamsoo says the 30-40% figure comes from a recent study made of costs in Estonia compared to Scandinavian countries. Aadamsoo said costs in Estonia for AV production were about the same as neighbouring Latvia or Lithuania.

    Aadamsoo said: "We are targeting producers in Europe, Russia and Asia. About one Russian production a year already shoots in Estonia. Estonians speak Russian and we are nearby and reliable."

    He also cited the four seasons, including plenty of snow, as an attraction as well as architecture that ranges from the 12th century to classic, gothic, renaissance and Soviet. Another attraction of the country is the more than 1000 lakes and islands, loads of empty seashore and lots of empty space in general as Estonia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe per square kilometre.

    In parallel Aadamsoo is heading the development of a high end postproduction facility, the Estonian Digital Center, in Estonia that will offer state-of-the-art digital post production. Estonia has one of the most highly developed digital and internet cultures in the world and the country is planning to turn all the technical savvy into making Estonia a leader in the field.