Estonian Film Institute (EFI)

By mapping the problems, EFI compiled mitigation and compensation measures aimed at different target groups in the film industry, focusing on the challenges caused by the emergency situation in the film sector.

Financial support measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 virus outbreak in the cultural and audiovisual sector in Estonia are coordinated by the Ministry of Culture. The full size of the crisis package in the field of culture and sport is 25 MEUR.

The film industry measure for freelancers is handled by The Filmmakers Union:


Compensation for the reduced earnings of filmmakers.

This compensation scheme falls under “Support scheme for freelance creative people”, the size of the scheme is 4,2 MEUR allowing support (with minimum salary during 6 month period) for up to 1200 persons in 2020. 

The majority of filmmakers work as freelancers and they will lose part or all of their income due to the interruption or postponement of film production. The Estonian Filmmakers Union conducted a detailed survey among 240 active members, asking them, among other things, to answer how the emergency situation is affecting their income. There were 106 respondents or 43% of the active members of the Estonian Filmmakers Union, of whom 80% stated that the emergency situation has greatly affected their work.

At present, the Estonian Filmmakers Union has the funds to allocate only 14 grants for creative activities, but the film industry as a whole includes 800 people, from creative people to technical professionals, whose income was greatly affected.
The detailed conditions of application and qualifying criteria are set out in the existing Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act that is amended according to the crisis situation. This support scheme excludes students and pensioners and those with employment contracts/regular income.

The other measures in the film industry, handled by EFI and ministry, are as follows:


The support scheme for film production, distribution and cinemas is 800 000 EUR.

The goal of the scheme is to support the film production and distribution companies and art house cinemas, which have received grants from Estonian Film Institute.  It it for companies whose production (development, shooting, post-production) and distribution activities have been interrupted due to an emergency situation (500 000 EUR, handled by EFI).
The scheme also includes art house cinemas and small distributors who show European films (300 000 EUR, handled by Minsitry of Culture).

The production funding for films – new call for film productions (500 000 EUR).
EFI announces new call for additional funding for June, 2020.

(Total funding for film industry at the moment is 1.3MEUR+funding for freelancers)

Apart from the Ministry of Culture, Estonian Enterprise supports small to medium size companies:

The Estonian state has allocated 10 million euros to support micro and small enterprises and self-employed persons who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

The purpose of the grant is to provide one-off, non-repayable assistance to partially compensate for the damage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, which would help micro and small enterprises to ensure their sustainability in providing products and services even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The amount of support is 3,000 and 5,000 euros per company, depending on the size of the company's turnover and the loss of turnover during the crisis compared to the same period last year: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/

Estonian Film Institute additional measures:

Extension of distribution support to online distribution of films.

This challenging period encourages the discovery and testing of new screening methods. Therefore:

1) EFI encourages and supports filmmakers to screen films on online platforms (if the film is suitable), in which case the marketing campaigns would be equivalent to a theatrical marketing campaigns;

2) EFI advises and supports filmmakers' in any cooperation with large-scale platforms;

3) EFI started promoting the EFI Vimeo channel, where the (“Tallinnfilm) archive is assembled;

4) EFI looks for a solution for embedding both the main platform for Estonian films netikino.ee, and the short film Vimeo channel, on YouTube and other international platforms;

Provision of grants to animation studios for organizing and archiving materials, as well as preparing exhibitions.

Although face-to-face work has been hindered or stopped due to the emergency situation, animation studios can alleviate the situation by enabling people to work on an individual basis. To this end, EFI will support those:

1) arranging and storing puppets and decorations accumulated over the years by Nukufilm;

2) preparing the film programme and events for the 50th anniversary of Eesti Joonisfilm in 2021.

To stimulate the compilation of film history and study materials for film literacy, EFI started following iniatives:

1) “The Pearls of Film History” - EFI supports the compilation of an article about 15 films in Estonian and English featuring illustrations –  the articles are aimed at readers who are not particularly familiar with the Estonian heritage films; the articles will feature quotations and sources, talk about the authors, contain fascinating facts, touch on the historical context and reception then and today; the length of one article will be 10,000 characters; the first article was publicised at https://issuu.com/eestifilmisihtasutus

2) EFI supports the addition of the directors' audio commentary to 10 films for the purpose of creating study material (compiling, editing and recording a questionnaire);

3) EFI supports the creation of worksheets necessary for 10 movies for study for film literacy purposes in schools;

4) In cooperation with Estonian Year of Digital Culture, EFI announced a new call for making 1-minute films and chose 15 winners - 1000 euros for each film, on the topic of Digital Culture*

Flexibility with regard to the deadlines for calls for applications, reports and screenings by EFI:

1) EFI brought the deadline for the second round of grants for screenplay and feature film development forward by two months - from October 13 to August 18, 2020;

2) if necessary, EFI will extend the deadlines for grant reports;

3) EFI extended the terms for event and training support if the event has been postponed;

4) EFI enabled the submission of reports on the basis of the costs incurred if the event is cancelled.

EFI changed the procedures for allocating grants for feature film development.

Instead of paying in three installments, EFI will make payments in two installments:

1) 95% after signing the contract;

2) 5% after the approval of the final report.

EFI created more opportunities for writing and developing new screenplays.

To this end, EFI will increase the budget of the second application round for full-length feature and animated film screenplays, as well as feature film development grants in such a way that at least 5 screenplay and 3 feature film development applications will receive support in August.

EFI works with producers for the extension of the Film Estonia / cash rebate support measure to Estonian private capital.

In the near future, finding foreign co-producers and financiers for Estonian films is predicted to become problematic, at least for a period of time. Therefore, the support of domestic private investors in financing our films will become essential, and the cash rebate measure should be extended equally to domestic capital. The Estonian Film Institute will start negotiations on the extension of the support measure with the relevant institutions (Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Culture).


* CALL FOR 1-MINUTE FILM (films were annouced on the 30th of April 2020)

Let the spirit fly beyond the boundaries of the home wall!

The dramatic situation in our societies in Europe requires a quick response to what is happening. Loneliness and limited resources are not an obstacle to creativity, it is the best time to create a 1-minute short film. Let's use idle time productively, while staying healthy. Quarantine sets boundaries, but a film competition provides an opportunity within those boundaries. We welcome all types of films and their symbioses and experiments! The only framework is the one-minute limit and the professional implementation, which allows the film to be shown both on public TV and in streaming.
The common subject matter of the competition is digital culture - creatively all the surrounding life, which is intertwined with our digital world. Additional points are given if the film can be put into good use of the education system.

The description of an idea should be maximum one page and must include the name of the filmmaker, the content of the film, the technique and other things that the author deems necessary to indicate. One person can submit several ideas. Both individuals and film companies can participate.

The ideas were evaluated by an EFI expert committee, which selected 15 ideas for production. Deadline for submission was 24th of April, the decisions were delivered by the 30th of April and the deadline for sending in finished films is 15th of June 2020.


Dated: 10.05.2020

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