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Estonia presents a new cash rebate system


- The Estonian Film Institute has introduced new fiscal and co-production incentives for films at the Black Nights Film Festival

Estonia presents a new cash rebate system
Ben Rivers and Ben Russel's A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, co-produced by Estonia and partly shot in Rummu

At the Black Nights Film FestivalFilm Estonia presented the new fiscal and co-production incentives that the country plans to implement next year. The new scheme, based on the cash rebate system and aiming to attract foreign capital into the Estonian economy, consists of economic support that will be given to foreign film companies that want to use Estonia as a location for their productions. This aid can be applied to production and post-production services for fiction and documentary feature films, high-end TV series, as well as animated feature films, short films and series.

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The scheme is set to kick off on 1 January, through the Estonian Film Institute, which will be receiving the applications on a rolling basis, but which will make four decisions on the project selection throughout the year. The funds allocated in 2016 total €500,000, while 2017 will see a huge increase, to a total of €2 million. It is worth noting that the initiative will work on an automatic scheme and a point system, as well as following the rules of the General Block Exemption Regulation.

In general, for a film to be eligible for the cash rebate, production costs must occur in Estonia, and the applicant must be an audiovisual company registered in the country (a local company or a local branch as a partner on the project). At the moment of the applicaton, 50% needs to be in place, and there is no minimum time required before principal photography starts, as opposed to other countries' schemes. The minimum overall budget is €1 million. “We are looking for bigger projects instead of small ones – but the bigger the budget we have, the higher the number of creative local workers in the project we demand,” explained Edith Sepp, CEO of the Estonian Film Institute, who was leading the presentation at the Tallinn-based festival.

Other existing regional funds in Estonia, the Viru Fond (Regional North Fund) and the Tartu Fund (Regional South Fund), are aiming to work more closely with the new application scheme, thus offering foreign agents a better and easier way of getting into Estonia to produce their film.

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