Advice, guidelines and support addressing the COVID-19 crisis.

On 12 March 2020, the Estonian government declared an emergency situation in Estonia until 17 May 2020.

Estonian production companies resumed shooting on the 3rd of June (national feature film “Kalev”). International production resumed on the 2nd of July (TV-drama series “Bad Apples”).

We have collected information from the government and the Health Board and put together these guidelines to be followed during the Covid-19 outbreak in order to, despite the current circumstances, maintain a working film industry whilst preventing the spread of the virus.

Please bear in mind, these guidelines are not intended to provide a solution for all types of productions -rather its aim is to assist in the preparation of the infection protection plan for each production.

It’s above all important to  maintain common sense and a sensible and caring attitude in all circumstances.

Current status of the curve can be followed here.
Official information about COVID-19 in Estonia can be seen here.

Production companies have to comply with the Government’s guidelines. It is imperative to enforce and provide necessary hygiene requirements and social distancing measures to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. The producer is responsible for preventing the risk of infection and they can also delegate these tasks to an infection control officer.

Each crew member has a responsibility to keep up to date with the safety measures put into effect by the producer and the current rules set by the Health Board.

  • Starting from June 19, the government has decided to replace the 2+2 rule with a requirement to disperse people. This means that a safe distance between people must continue to be maintained, but the state no longer requires compliance with the 2+2 rule.
  • Reinforced hygiene measures
  • Please use masks and hand sanitisers and provide them for your team 
  • If you suspect you might be infected, definitely stay at home until recovery (minimum 14 days)

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Temporary restrictions apply when entering Estonia and crossing the internal and external Schengen borders.

The borders of Estonia will be reopened from June 1 to passengers arriving from European countries. Estonia will admit people with no symptoms arriving from the European Union, the members of the Schengen area and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Citizens and residents of Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Vatikan will be able to enter Estonia without having to undergo a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Upon arrival in Estonia, a person must be in quarantine for 14 days if they have arrived from a country where the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants has been more than 15 in the last 14 days. Travelers from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland  must still undergo a period of quarantine.

Countries outside the European Union

Additionally, based on the recommendation of the Council of the European Union, Estonia will open its border to 12 countries outside the European Union that have a low infection rate. From 6 July 2020, residents of Algeria, Australia*, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay can travel to Estonia.

* A two-week restriction on freedom of movement is mandatory.

Information on countries and quarantine requirements is updated every Friday on the kriis.ee/en and vm.ee/en websites.

Entry into the European Union is currently closed to third-country nationals, including the United States. 

As it stands, the EU rules as well as Estonian rules state that US citizens can not enter the country at all. But exceptions are possible and special permits can be applied for in advance from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. The permits will be assessed and granted individually case by case. These will be handled and applied for by the Estonian production partner company of the US productions.

When staying and working in Estonia, it is necessary to follow all the health requirements and restrictions in force at that time.

For more information, please see here.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES FOR FILM PRODUCTION

  • Production companies shall assess the precautionary measures to be taken on set against coronavirus spread before shooting, thus, taking a collective responsibility to eliminate risks of infection on set. 
  • In pre-production, evaluate the risks and plan ahead to keep the crew safe. Communication is key; let everybody in the team know the precautions they must follow. Adapt accordingly to the changing situation.
  • The number of crew members on set should be kept to a minimum. Keep in mind the location and its size whilst planning the shoot. 
  • Appoint an infection control officer. Presumably, this could be added as one of the duties of the location manager, who would be the contact person regarding all inquiries about coronavirus and the precautionary measures taken against it on set. They need to provide and make sure disinfectants, protective masks, hand washing facilities and illustrated instructions are always readily available on set. 
  • In case of suspicion or symptoms associated with the COVID-19 disease, it is forbidden to come on set. An unwell person must stay home. (They can return to work after a 14-day quarantine period, on the condition that they have fully recovered - no fever or respiratory symptoms. The infected crew member must contact their GP.)
  • You must inform the production company immediately if you are COVID-19 positive. 
  • After the positive diagnosis has been confirmed, the workplace and tools used by the infected crew member shall be disinfected in their entirety. Determine the people who came into close contact with the infectious person when they were already symptomatic. Those in close contact need to self-isolate at home for two weeks and observe if they develop any symptoms. Other crew members can continue their work but keep an eye on their health as well. 
  • Even if a crew member was not diagnosed with COVID-19, all the other crew members must monitor their health for 14 days. 
  • Opt to have pre-production and meetings online via Zoom, Skype etc. If for some reason this is not possible then maintain social distancing and hygiene measures, keeping with the 2+2 rule.
  • Keep in mind the members of the risk group, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases, whilst planning as they are more prone to exhibit the severe forms of the disease and thus, need extra precautions.
  • Masks and hand sanitisers: Although masks are not mandatory at this time, production must provide masks for all people on set. Their use is strongly recommended for interior spaces, where it is difficult to consistently maintain social distancing.
  • Maintain hygiene on set. This includes frequent cleaning of contact surfaces.
  • Make-up and costume department areas should be separated. When being in close contact with the actors, protective masks are required, and it is also recommended to wear disposable gloves. If possible, only one crew member at a time should work with an actor on a specific task. Make sure the workplace does not get crowded with people. 
  • Outdoor locations are preferred to minimise the risk of spreading the disease. All interior locations must have good ventilation.
  • Try to prepare as much as possible ahead of the shoot (e.g. set decorations, lighting) to avoid excess movement of a lot of people at once. 
  • Avoid printouts (scripts, call-sheets, other documents). Maintain and distribute all production documentation digitally. 
  • Consider remote shoot possibilities.
  • Catering must follow reinforced hygiene measures. Whenever possible, food on set should be provided in individual containers. Maintain a 2-meter distance from one another during mealtimes.
  • Follow the Health Board’s prognosis and the national regulations.

Virke - Film Producers’ Association, the Norwegian Film Workers Association, Norwegian Film Directors, the Writers Guild and the Norwegian Actors Guild have compiled comprehensive guidelines where they have specified the code of conduct for each stage of production and give particular instructions based on the respective requirements of each department. We strongly recommend reading their guide when planning your shoot. The guide is available to read here.

European countries and film institutions are providing technical and organizational measures in order to help productions restart in safety during the global emergency. The guide is available here.

Stay safe and have solidarity in order to avoid contracting the virus and infecting others around you!

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us: commissioner@filmi.ee

WHY ESTONIA?

In Estonia, personal space is a human right. An idea which might seem paradoxical when thinking about our small size. But here, there really is enough breathing room for social distancing to be the unspoken social etiquette followed in shared spaces, with or without the outbreak of the virus. The statistics back it up too, for one person, there is over 30 m2 of individual territory!

Similarly, our film industry has managed to condense, proportionately to its small-scale, just the right amount of professionals, for it not to feel too cramped. We are resilient and resourceful both in normal and unusual circumstances and like the majority of our population, digitally-savvy and very comfortable working with technology. So, the current restrictive measures are not so confining after all, offering the ability to, despite the virus, make thingswork and keep the cameras rolling and focused to help bring your next film project to fruition. At the same time, of course, being mindful of the safety of everyone involved and maintaining plenty of personal space.

  • Competent and experienced film crews who speak fluent English and are used to working efficiently in small teams
  • World-renowned professionals with international experience 
  • A large variety of unique locations. 
  • Estonia is a small country, so there is a short distance between locations which gives an opportunity to film more in less time. 
  • We offer a Cash ebate of up to 30% and Regional Funds (Tartu Film Fund, Viru Film Fund, Film Fund of Estonian Islands).
  • Wide range of quality equipment available.
  • Known for its advanced digital society. Less hassle, better time-management and proficient workflow.

 

Last updated: 10.08.2020

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