Estonian govt earmarks EUR 5 mln to cover part of Nolan's film costs

  • 2019-06-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian government on Thursday approved a one-off increase in the size of the budget of Film Estonia by five million euros in connection with the shooting of the upcoming film "Tenet" by director Christopher Nolan in Estonia. 

The aim of the Film Estonia reimbursement arrangement is to facilitate the inflow of foreign capital into Estonia and give an impetus to the production of films here. 

In accordance with the arrangement, foreign film producers may be reimbursed 30 percent of their expenses in Estonia which meet the requirements set out in the terms and conditions of the support arrangement. The government decided at the proposal of the Ministry of Culture to increase the size of the budget of Film Estonia, which stood at two million euros, as the costs to be incurred by the "Tenet" filming project in Estonia amount to 16 million euros.

Hence, the amount to be eventually paid to the project could be approximately five million euros. 

"If we didn't have a reimbursement system, foreign filmmakers would not bring their money to Estonia but would choose some other country where such support measures are in place. This is a tough competition, where Estonia emerged as one of the winners in the race for the Nolan film. Since this is the film production with the biggest economic effect on Estonia to date, increasing the support arrangement as a one-off is a decision looking far to the future. The costs taken as the basis for the calculation of the reimbursement of course include only the costs incurred in relation to partners here; the costs on stars residing elsewhere and on other personnel are not counted in," Minister of Culture Tonis Lukas said.

The support arrangement for the production of foreign films in Estonia was created in 2016 as a measure to invigorate the economy. An analysis demonstrates that each invested euro brings at least six times as much back into the Estonian economy in the form of foreign investments. In making the reimbursement, it is assumed that Estonian filmmakers, actors and production base are used in the film and the film is connected with Estonia also content-wise. Since the arrangement is a measure to invigorate the economy, in addition to the tax revenue flowing directly into the Estonian state budget also indirect and longer-term benefits have to be taken into account.

Films by Christopher Nolan are always accompanied by stepped-up interest, the symbols emerging through the films and related locations invigorate tourism, which in turn is linked to very many other branches of the economy. 

Film production reimbursement arrangements are widespread in the world, being offered based on the same principles by almost all member states of the European Union as well as countries of North and South America.