The Estonian Film Industry Cluster calls for additional support to combat the state of emergency
- Cluster leaders are demanding the implementation of four main measures aimed at protecting Estonia's film industry
The Estonian Film Industry Cluster is poised to call for additional support in order to fight the state of emergency in the local film sector caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. In detail, the cluster leaders are demanding the implementation of four main provisions aimed at protecting Estonian cinema.
While the leaders welcomed the national government's recent decision to earmark €600,000 from the cultural and sports crisis support package for film production, they also claim that additional efforts are required in order to overcome this unprecedented situation.
The first requested measure is the allocation of at least €2 million to inject into the local film sector. Speaking about this first provision, Estonian Film Industry Cluster's board members Diana Mikita, Marge Liiske, Marianne Ostrat and Kristel Tõldsepp told the err.ee news portal: “Considering that the possibility of bringing in foreign currency and income from the provision of film services has stalled for an indefinite period, we propose additional funds in the amount of €2 million to support various stages of domestic film production this year in order to ensure the film industry's survival.”
Next, the cluster suggests to open Film Estonia's cash-rebate system up to domestic films and private investments. In this respect, the cluster members added: “One important mitigation would be to provide a repayment system for domestic private investments. This would enable producers to cover lost funding sources by attracting more private investors from Estonia. In addition, we consider it important to increase the repayment rate to 35-40%.”
The third measure consists of recommending the allocation of resources to national pubcaster ERR for the re-acquisition of older film licences from independent producers for a more competitive amount of money, which is likely to be one of the few sources of income for producers, especially in the short term.
Finally, the fourth step would require altering the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival's support scheme, transitioning from the current 2015 Cultural Capital Support Scheme (50% from the audiovisual endowment, or funds for audiovisual-related activities, and 50% from the cross-sectoral endowment) to the previous 20/80 format (20% from the audiovisual endowment and 80% from the interdisciplinary one).
Meanwhile, other figures have been made public in relation to the current state of the local film sector. According to a survey sent to 13 companies, the projected market volume before the COVID-19 crisis was estimated at €16.6 million a year; however, the emergency has already caused the decrease of said figure by €3.2 million between March and May 2020. On a yearly basis, the overall negative impact on the national film industry is currently estimated at €10.7 million. This year, ten feature-length projects were in production, and their budgets totalled €15.2 million. 28.3% of these funds were provided by the Estonian Film Institute, the country's audiovisual agency. Other sources included cinema revenues, television pre-sales, contributions from foreign co-production partners and funding bodies, private backers and, obviously, the local production outfits' investments.
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