Government meeting Thursday to mull €5 million loan in Nolan movie support

The Linnahall, during
The Linnahall, during "Tenet" filming in July. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The coalition government is weighing up whether to loan €5 million towards funding the filming of Christopher Nolan-directed movie "Tenet", some of which has already commenced, in Tallinn.

According to ERR's Estonian online news filming of "Tenet" is to cost around €16.5 million, which Film Estonia, a production incentive which supports the production of feature films, must stump up €5 million.

Thirty percent of costs incurred in Estonia must be reimbursed to the film producer, by Film Estonia.

Film Estonia is part of the Estonian Film Institute (Eesti Filmi Sihtasutus).

Film Estonia has in any case received a rebate from "Tenet"'s producer, Warner Bros., whose expenses in Estonia are largely taken up by local labor and services.

"Tenet"'s overall budget is a reported €200 million, with the Tallinn-filmed scenes taking up about 20 minutes of the entire movie, including some key scenes, it is reported.

The government is to meet Thursday to discuss the one-off sum of €5 million and whether it can be granted to Film Estonia, which naturally usually deals with much lower-budget movies. The money, if the government opts to provide it, would come from the Ministry of Culture.

Culture minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) had previously spoken quite keenly on the benefits the movie might bring to Tallinn, in terms of exposure and revenue for the hospitality and other service sector industries.

Edith Sepp, Estonian Film Institute director, appeared on ETV morning show "Terevisioon" Tuesday, and said that some tough conditions applied to the support procedures from Film Estonia, including the labor taxes on the part of the producer.

"This is not some kind of miracle program, but rather one that is used by many countries," Sepp explained.

Since the announcement was made last month that Warner Bros. had chosen to film part of "Tenet", a spy thriller from the British director noted for movies, such as "Memento", "Insomnia" and "Inception", filmed in somewhat muted colors, urban settings and dialogue framed in wide close-up, the project became mired in discussions on street closures in the capital, notably the arterial Laagna Road in the east of the city, which the production team had wanted to close for up to a month.

Nolan arrived in Tallinn last week on a charter flight direct from Los Angeles, together with lead actor John David Washington ("Malcolm X", "BlacKkKlansman"). Another star in the movie, Robert Pattinson (the "Twilight" series of movies) arrived on Monday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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