Estonia is best known for its beautiful forests, scenic lakes and wetlands, waterfalls, over a thousand remote islands, seaside and beaches, lighthouses, luxurious manor houses, winding car commercial roads, farms and pastures, medieval architecture, industrial estates, Soviet architecture, castles and palaces, and impressive contemporary architecture such as the KUMU museum and Science Centre AHHAA. Estonia has many interesting museums covering subjects as diverse as KGB history through to traditional village life. The Seaplane Harbour Museum explores Estonian maritime history. Estonia is one of Europe’s greenest countries with over have of the country covered in forest.
Cost & Rebates
Estonia trades in the Euro. It is generally more expensive than its Baltic neighbours but much less expensive than Scandinavian countries. Estonia’s limited film infrastructure means that the additional costs of bringing in crews and equipment need to be factored in.
Estonia offers a cash rebate of up to 30% for qualifying productions.
When To Shoot
Estonia has a four-season continental climate. Summers (June to August) are warm with long daylight hours (18 hours in June). The mild summers mean that natural green looks don’t dry out as much as in other countries. Fall brings rains and colourful leaves. Winters are dark (as little as 5 hours of daylight) and snow-covered with ice roads opened between the mainland and the islands during the coldest months. Spring brings migratory birds and flowers in full bloom.
Estonia is a member of the Schengen Area. Work permits are not required to film in Estonia. Crew travelling on US passports can enter visa-free for periods of up to 90 days. Contact your closest Estonian embassy / representative for more information.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
Estonia has a small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Estonian crews are known to be efficient, hard working and flexible with day rates and working hours. Department heads all speak fluent English. Crews are often sourced from other Baltic countries giving the region a depth of 5-6 good crews. It is recommended to bring in a 1st AD and an art director on more complicated jobs. Estonia’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those technical and creative crews. Talent is non-union. Day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Estonia has mainly Slavic and Scandinavian looking featured talent. Most other talent looks need to be cast abroad. Estonia’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those pools of talent should you ever need to look further.
Estonia has a range of standard camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally. More sophisticated gear can be easily brought in from nearby Helsinki (70km ferry trip), Riga (300km drive), or major European production centres. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Estonia is an ATA carnet country.