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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Estonia

The Estonian Film Institute announces the recipients of its latest slate of funding

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- The Baltic country’s film agency has earmarked over €2 million in production and minority co-production grants

The Estonian Film Institute announces the recipients of its latest slate of funding
Director Elmo Nüganen, who has received €665,000 for his period drama Apothecary Melchior

The Estonian Film Institute (EFI), the country’s main public film agency, has finally announced the recipients of its 2020 production and minority co-production grants. In total, three feature-length projects with Estonia as a main producing country were selected to receive support. In detail, two grants of the same magnitude (€665,000) were awarded to Homeless Bob Productions for Rainer Sarnet’s comedy The Invisible Fight (co-produced with Serbian and Taiwanese partners) and to Taska Film, Nafta Films and Apollo Film Productions for Elmo Nüganen’s period drama Apothecary Melchior (co-produced with Finland, Latvia and Germany). A third grant of €460,000 was awarded to an Estonian-Lithuanian co-production, namely Jaak Kilmi’s Tagurpidi torn, staged by Tallinn-based Stellar Film.

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Moreover, the institute awarded a total of €323,000 to seven feature-length fiction and documentary projects in which Estonia is involved as a minority co-producer. Among the beneficiaries of this category, a €60,000 grant went to the Russian-Estonian-Belgian-British film Conference, directed by Ivan I Tverdovsky, and co-produced by Vega Film (Russia) and Estonian firm Nafta Films. A grant of the same magnitude was bestowed upon the Latvian-Estonian-Bulgarian flick Lovable, directed by Stanislavs Tokalovs, and produced by Tasse Films (Latvia) and Estonian partner Stellar Film. Next, the Icelandic-Estonian-Dutch project Reply to Letter from Helga, directed by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir and produced by Iceland’s Zikzak Films in co-operation with Estonian firm Allfilm, received a €70,000 grant, while €50,000 were conferred upon the Serbian-Estonian-Croatian experimental film Instru Mental, helmed by Dean Radovanović, and staged by Serbia’s Nulta Tacka and Estonia’s Münchhausen Productions.

The remaining recipients are three documentaries, namely Matthias Azoulay and William Mermoud’s Kelly Film – Diary of A Superhero (€40,000, produced by France’s PVS Company and Estonia’s Oree Films), Martin Meissonnier’s Happiness at School (€23,000, staged by France’s Productions Campagne Première and Estonia’s Vesilind), and Denis Strasnyi and Uljana Osovska’s A Fairy Tale About a Wooden Horse (€20,000, produced by Ukraine’s Docutoloka and Estonia’s Silmviburlane).

In conclusion, speaking about the projects with Estonia as a main producing country, EFI head and veteran producer Piret Tibbo-Hudgins pointed out: “Eight features applied for support; all of them were original and well-developed film projects, but unfortunately, we were only able to support three of them. Film budgets have also risen, with two supported films exceeding the budget limit of €2 million. All of the backed films have foreign partners, so these projects are also funded by other agencies.”

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