Today on the 20th of June, at the proposal of the Ministry of Culture, the government decided a one-time increase of the Film Estonia cash-rebate fund, amounting close to 5 million Euros. The decision to provide additional funding is related to the shooting, in Estonia, of Christopher Nolan’s movie „Tenet“. The shooting of the movie has a significant positive impact on the Estonian economy and movie-making.
The aim of the Film Estonia production incentive is to encourage the influx of foreign capital to Estonia and liven the production of movies in Estonia. According to the rules, foreign country filmmakers can receive a rebate of up to 30% of the eligible costs made in Estonia. It was decided to increase the budget of Film Estonia, which currently is 2 million Euros, as the expenditures in Estonia related to Christopher Nolan’s project amount to 16 million Euros, so the future rebate could be around 5 million Euros.
„Foreign filmmakers would not bring their money to Estonia, if no cash-rebate system would exist, but choose some other country where such schemes are in place. It is a tough competition and the winner, in case of Nolan’s movie, was Estonia. The movie is to date, with the largest impact on Estonia’s economy, so the decision to make a one-time increase in the production incentive scheme, is a decision into the future long-term. Obviously, only the expenditures made on local partners are eligible for the rebate, expenditures on stars and other personnel residing outside of Estonia are not taken into consideration“, said the Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas.
In the year 2016, the support scheme for films was created, as a measure for livening the economy. Analysis to date, confirms that every invested Euro is returned, at least with a six fold foreign investment. The cash-rebates are made, based on the presumption that Estonian filmmakers, actors and production bases are used, as well as that the film’s content is related to Estonia. As the scheme is a measure for livening the economy, then not only the direct tax revenue needs to be considered, but also the indirect and more long-term revenue. Christopher Nolan’s movies are always under increased attention. The places and symbols used liven tourism, which in turn is related to a lot of different branches of the economy.
Film cash-rebate funds are very popular throughout the world. Similar schemes to the Estonian one exist in almost all countries belonging to the European Union and are also widespread among countries in North and South America.