Tallinn film hub: Estonian films' issue is always managing alone

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Gren Noormets Source: Erle Loonurm

Chief executive of the Tallinn Film Wonderland, Gren Noormets, said that both the state representatives and politicians understand how important the film city is for Estonia, but it just hasn't been thought about earlier because the film industry has tried to manage on their own.

The film industry hub requires €13.5 million, and Tallinn is willing to finance the project under the condition that the hub will return the money in 16 years.

"We are not completely sure if we would be able to pay that money in the first years," Noormets said. "We will manage entirely with covering the costs, but we need support in paying the capital and renting. We have been dealing with it for a long time."

"I've been talking with the state representatives and politicians and it's been a pleasure. Everybody understands that it's important for Estonia and nobody has thought about it before," Noormets added.

"Estonia's film industry has always managed on its own, it's its own fault. Estonian filmmakers have been very creative. If there needs to be a scene in the farm, filmmakers use actual farms and the film is done, under limited conditions, but done. It makes me wonder if we had studios, what could Estonia's film industry do."

Regardless of the lacking of studios, interest in coming to film in Estonia is high. "I get questions and applications in every three to four weeks whether we can book a time, when can we and why can't we," Noormets said.

Even though filmmakers come to Estonia for its beautiful nature, a studio is still necessary. "They still want to film some scenes in a studio even if they come to film nature. If there's no studio, they will film nature in Lithuania. There is a studio in Lithuania."

Noormets said that the film industry hub to be built in Paljassaare would be special in terms of location compared to its competitors. "Paljassaare is so close to the city center that it creates other advantages that other studios do not have. We can accommodate stars in good hotels and don't have to rent expensive caravans."

At the moment, they are waiting for the Riigikogu to convene and start working. "I believe that the decisions that would allow us to cut the tape even next year and open the doors of the studio will be done this summer and autumn," Noormets is hopeful.

"We have the projects ready, almost have the building permits, the shortcomings have been eliminated and the comments have been taken on board. The only obstacle is construction prices," he said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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