Estonia Launches its First Film Commission

The commission will invest some $1.2 million over three years to promote shoots and post-production in the tiny Baltic nation.

COLOGNE, Germany – Estonia, one of Europe’s tiniest nations, isn’t lacking in ambition when it comes to its local film industry. Shortly after the bow of That’s It!, a feature film written, directed and produced collectively by some 1,500 Estonian citizens, the country has launched its first-ever film commission. The commission’s stated goal is to make Estonia the Baltic Sea region's leading provider of film and TV services by 2020.

Currently, Estonia, pop. 1.3 million, has virtually no film infrastructure.  That didn’t stop German director Chris Kraus from shooting his award-winning period piece The Poll Diaries there last year but the country is still a ways from being a destination for international shoots.

The Estonian Film Commission, which will get its international unveiling at the Berlin Film Festival in February, will promote Estonia as a location for international productions. It also plans to initiate financial or tax incentives to draw in outside shoots. The commission is backed by a dozen of the Estonia’s leading production companies as well as the national film agency and the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. The commission’s budget for the first three years of operation will be about $1.2 million, around a third of which will come in the form of collateral funding from the commission and its partners.