Estonia plans production facilities

By Martin Aadamsoo
    Estonia's Ministry of Culture has convened a working group to start planning for the establishment of complex film production facilities, lacking in the country after the demolition of Soviet-era state film studios in the 1990's.

    The voluntary working group, comprising all major film financing, production, TV and film education institutions in the country,has been assigned the task to outline a provisional setup of the studio complex by May 2009.

    The Ministry's initial proposal is to allot a land plot of around 10 hectares for the purpose free of charge, located a quarter of an hour drive from the city borders of Tallinn, the nation's capital, and near the major transport arteries, including Tallinn airport. The financing prospects of such a venture, as well as its possible completion timeline, remain vague at this stage. The initial Ministry plan is to finance the complex through a mixture of EU and government funding, with little involvement from the private sector in the initial phase.

    It remains unclear under which aegis the complex will be operated. Possible facilites include sound stages for film and TV productions, animation facilities, space for film archive storage and, perhaps, post-production facilities.

    The timing of the Ministry's proposal has raised a number of eyebrows, as both Estonia and EU are expecting to enter a time of economic recession that may not help the financing of a project of that scale.