Film Directors guild: Austerity plan will lead to end of Estonian film

"Truth and Justice" Source: Allfilm

The Estonian Guild of Film Directors sent a manifesto to the media on Monday which says if a 42 pecent decrease in film funding occurs under the government's plans for cuts then this will lead to the extinction of Estonian film culture.

ERR News publishes the manifest unchanged:

This is not an exaggeration. The government's plan to reduce funding for Estonian films by 42 percent next year means the inevitable disappearance of Estonian film culture. We are puzzled and outraged by the government's plans to reduce the already meager subsidies for Estonian film by almost half. The warm handshakes of politicians and the festive smiles of the international success of our films are not the currency in which films can be made. The culture of a small country needs the support of its own country. If a country refuses to maintain its national culture, the culture will disappear.

Estonian film has been constantly underfunded since regaining independence. Today, Estonian film production receives more than three times less money from the state budget than, for example, theater. We only have €7 million a year to make films, which would need to be increased several times, but from which, the state wants to cut €3 million instead. In 2022, the state plans to support us with an amount enough to make one and a half feature films, a couple of short animations and some documentaries.

One feature film a year means the inevitable disappearance of domestic film culture. Film actors, cinematographers, screenwriters, artists and technicians will find application only in gossip and politicians' election clips. Film education becomes meaningless because those who have joined the Baltic Film and Media School department have no future. Cinematic works that deal with Estonian history and identity, the existence and dreams of modern Estonians, offer excitement, catharsis or reconciliation will no longer reach cinemas - they can only be seen at nostalgic cinema evenings where old Estonian films are shown. Because there are no more new movies.

Estonian film is consistently underfunded. A single funding injection for the country's 100th anniversary brought the film's funding to almost normal levels and the results were immediately visible. A number of new films were made, which brought hundreds of thousands of viewers. Unfortunately, the government now plans to leave the money injection as a one-off and permanent immunity against lack of money will not be created.

Nevertheless, the film industry itself has been active and determined. We have reached major festivals and won important prizes there. We have created a number of successful international cooperation projects. We are valued partners in the international arena, our contribution is expected and needed. Today, the only one who does not expect or need the contribution of Estonian filmmakers is the Estonian state.

Imagine a day when no more poems are written in Estonian. When no Estonian-language production is performed or the work of any Estonian composer is not performed. Imagine the day when the last Estonian writer is silent and when the last house of an Estonian architect collapses. No one makes Estonian-language films except us. If the state refuses to support Estonian films, we will soon see the day when the last Estonian film is screened. From then on, we are only subcontractors to the film industry in other countries. Those countries that have understood, value and value their own language film culture.

With respect,
Estonian film directors

Tanel Toom ("Truth and Justice", "Confession", "Second Coming")
Moonika Siimets ("Comrade Child", "Roots: 40 Years Later")
Veiko Õunpuu ("The Last One", "Autumn Ball")
Jaan Tootsen ("Fred Jüssi. The Beauty of Being", "New World")
Ilmar Raag ("Class", "A Lady in Paris")
Triin Ruumet ("The Days That Confused")
Martti Helde ("In the Crosswind", "Scandinavian Silence")
Marta Pulk ("A Year Full of Drama")
Anu Aun ("Eia's Christmas at Tondikaku", "Polar Boy")
Rainer Sarnet ("Idiot", "Rehepapp")
Peeter Simm ("Ideal Landscape", "On the Water")
Joosep Matjus ("Land Carved by the Winds", "The Old Man and the Moose")
Kadri Kõusaar ("Mother", "Magnus")
Priit Pärn ("Triangle", "A Meal on the Grass", "1895", "A Night of Carrots", "Life without Gabriella Ferrita")
Marko Raat ("Funeral Diaries", "Fast Eddy Old News")
Janno Põldmaa ("Lotte from Gadgetville", "Lotte and the Lost Dragons")
Margit Lillak ("Heart Circle", "40+2 weeks")
Sulev Keedus ("Somnambuul", "Letters to the Angel")
Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo ("Take it or Leave it", "I lived in the Republic of Estonia")
Oskar Lehemaa ("Old Man's Film", "Hair")
Terje Toomistu ("Soviet Hippies")
Aljona Suržikova ("Suur-Sõjamäe", "Waiting for Miracles", "A Questionnaire")
Priit Tender ("Snake House", "Mont Blanc")
Kullar Viimne ("Shared Light", "How I Saved Africa")
Katri Rannastu ("Gardener of Tension Fields", "Leaf Child Summer")
German Golub ("My Dear Corpses")
Olga Pärn ("Life without Gabriella Ferrita", "Divers in the Rain", "Pilots on the Way Home")
Ülo Pikkov ("Body Memory", "Empty Space")
Kersti Uibo ("Silence with a Woman", "Narrow is the Gate")
Maria Aua ("Rauanite", "Samaritan Man")
Toomas Hussar ("Mushrooming", "The Spy and the Poet")
Raimo Jõerand ("Rodeo", "Year of the Sea")
Vladimir Loginov ("Anthill", "Prazdnik")
Anna Hints ("Paradise is Coming Tomorrow", "Ice")
Liis Nimik ("Better Tomorrow", "Another Song")
Rain Tolk ("Jan Uuspõld Goes to Tartu", "Cormorants")
Toomas Järvet ("The End of Communication", "On a Tough Surface")
Martinus Klemet ("Fatcula", "Face Detection")
Kaspar Jancis ("Crocodile", "Villa Antropoff", "Captain Morten on the Ship of Fools")
Vallo Toomla ("Pretenders", "Marju Lepajõe. Words of the Days")
Kaupo Kruusiauk ("The Last Prince", "Sandra Gets a Job")
Madis Ligema ("About Mosquitoes and Humans", "Influencers")
Andres Maimik ("Cherry Tobacco", "Uncle with My Face")
Heilika Pikkov ("Flowers of the Oil Hill", "Roots")
Krista Jutt ("Basement", "3D")
Katrin Tegova ("Uncle With My Face", "Cherry tobacco")
Jaanis Valk ("Ahto. The Dream Hunt.")
Madli Lääne ("Three days in August", "Water with a sieve. Merle Karusoo")
Anu-Laura Tuttelber ("Fly Mill", "Winter in the Rainforest")
Evar Anvelt ("The Good Shepherd")
Martinus Klemet ("Fatcula", "Face Detection")
Sergei Kibus ("Theofrastus")
Kadriann Kibus ("Muhu: Aces and Roses", "Pigeons")
Andres Tenusaar ("Triangle Affair", "Miriam's Homeless Dog")
Nora Särak ("To Light / To Light / As Light", "Roots: A Poem of Love")
Riho Västrik ("Battery", "New Neighbors")
Meelis Muhu ("Kihnu Wedding", "Aljoša")
Priit Pääsuke ("Night Children", "The End of the Chain")
Eeva Mägi ("Lembri Uudu", "Heart in Sõrve")


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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