Filming in Estonia

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Estonia offers a competitive cash rebate of up to 30% on a minimum spend such of EUR1 million for feature films and television productions.

Capital city Tallinn is one of Estonia’s main international appeals with a blend of historic architecture dating back to the 13th Century. There’s a good variety of manor houses and medieval castles that often catch the eye of visiting Location Scouts, plus the distinctive Patarei Prison in Tallinn, which is now un-used and available as a filming location. Estonia also offers more than 700km of coastline and over a thousand islands, making beaches among the most popular filming locations.

Christopher Nolan's Tenet carried out a large amount of filming in Estonia and boosted the country's production profile. Locations featured in the film include Tallin's city hall, the Port of Tallin, the 1970s memorial complex and the modern Kumo Art Museum which doubles for Oslo Freeport. Due to the scale of the production which had a planned EUR16 million spend the feature film was specially approved for EUR5 million in funding under the Estonian rebate. The rebate usually covers up to 30% of local production costs depending on the project's overall budget, and how much is spent on local production.

There are two regional film funds that are stackable with the national incentive. East of Tallinn and closer to the Russian border is the mining region of Virumaa where filmmakers can make use of the specialist industrial infrastructure and an oil shale mine that has been turned into a museum. The region has a film fund with an annual EUR200,000 capacity that can provide up to 40%. Tartu to the south east also provides 10-20% funding and has an annual budget of EUR150,000.

With an overall population of just over 1.3 million – making it among the least populous in the European Union – Estonia does not have a large crew base of its own, but crew are routinely brought in from Latvia, Lithuania and across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki.

 

“Estonia has great locations, fantastic crew, and citizens, and the service and accommodation are first rate. Their rebate process was competitive and effortless, which encouraged us to stay longer and take advantage of more great locations. The recoupment of our rebate was very fast and cooperative which made filming in Estonia a true pleasure.”  

Thomas Hayslip, Executive Producer, Tenet (serviced by Allfilm)

Climate

The climate of Estonia is temperate, with warm summer weather and extreme winters. Summer temperatures can reach 35C although 18C is the norm. Average winter temperatures are around -7C but can fall to -35C. Precipitation is limited to light summer rain showers and occasional winter snowfalls. Snow tends to lie on the ground and the countryside remains blanketed between December and March.

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