Downturn in Estonian film sector causes unemployment

At the premier of
At the premier of ""Tähtsad ninad" in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Estonian film industry is in a downturn that might last until next summer. Because no major films are now being made, many professionals in the film industry are out of employment.

The unusually long hiatus is due to high inflation, strikes in Hollywood, cancellations of foreign projects in Estonia and financing problems in the local film market.

Esko Rips, producer of NAFTA Films, a film and TV company, said that it is clear that there is a shortage of work in the film industry and the downturn could last for another eight months.

"Not a day goes by without someone asking if we have something to offer," Rips went on to say. "People are coming to us, concerned about what will happen to them. Our external partners, who had budgets with definite plans, are likewise taken aback by the surge in prices."

Rips said that the creation of Film City would help ensure the stability of international initiatives. Also, in order to prevent another instance of the early depletion of the €4 million designated for this year, he suggested a funding adjustment.

Makeup artist Kaire Hendrikson said that  the industry is fraught with uncertainty, which is problematic to filmmakers because they are unable to predict the duration of the a break.

"Throughout my entire career as a makeup artist, I have never been so uncertain about what my next project would be. It is awful. People are starting to look beyond their field of expertise due to the work shortage. I also don't know if this problem is just temporary or not."

Knowing there would be a long pause from major projects, Matis Mäesalu, a filmmaker, turned his back on filmmaking. "I designed the restaurant's interior for the first time at the start of the year I collaborated staging exhibitions and summer shows."

Mäesalu added that while price and flexibility used to be the competitive advantages of our film market, now only flexibility remains. "Almost everything has become more expensive, with a steep 30 percent increase added to the film budget to cover crew transportation, catering, and other costs." As a result, some overseas film projects have been canceled."


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Editor: Annika Remmel, Kristina Kersa

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