More and more people in Estonia go to movie theatres - the total number of visits is close to 3,5 million a year. There are 50 cinemas (with a total of 80 screens) that operate more or less regularly. In 2012, Estonian film celebrated its 100th anniversary. The general cinema scene in Estonia is organised by the state-founded foundation Estonian Film Institute (EFI). 

To ensure the preservation of more than 15,000 films created throughout a century the state has supported the restoration, digitisation and systematisation of our film legacy.
There is also an ongoing plan of mass digitisation of movies. We are grateful for the great efforts of the creators of the Estonian Film Database, who had the objective of putting together the Estonian national fimography and making it available to all interested parties via the Internet.
An overview of the history of Estonian cinematography has been provided in the English-language publication "The World of Estonian Cinema” by the Estonian Institute.

Film competition Republic of Estonia 100 

The Estonian Film Institute is the main engine behind the largest film competition in recent years. In 2018, for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, 5 to 7 films will be screened, which were picked from 152 contestants during the idea contest held as part of the programme “Republic of Estonia 95”.
The contest for film ideas was organised by the Government Office, Ministry of Culture, and Estonian Film Institute. 

"Tõde ja õigus" (Foto: Allfilm)


In Estonia, film-making can be studied at the Baltic Film and Media School of Tallinn University, which is the only university in Northern Europe where film-making, television and media subjects are also taught in English.



  • The field of film- and video-making employs more than 1,100 people in over 360 companies.
  • In 2017, the yearly budget of the Estonian Film Institute is 9 601 676 euros.
  • On average, there are around 3,5 million visits to the cinema in Estonia. That means an average of 2,7 trips to the movie theatre per person.

  • The total revenue of the film sector in nearly 51 million euros; 12.6 % of production is financed by the state (Estonian Film Institute and Cultural Endowment of Estonia) and 1.3 % by foreign funds. 
  • In 2016, 10 feature films were made, in 2015 there were 7, and in 2014 there were 6. The share of domestic films on the market is around 10%. 
  • In 2013, the total value of film export was 1.9 million euros, in 2012 it was 1.3 million euros, and in 2011 it was 0.5 million euros.



The state finances Estonian film production mainly through the Estonian Film Institute and Cultural Endowment. In addition to that, film-makers can apply for aid from the European Union programmes. 

The Ministry of Culture gives out activity support to the Estonian Film Institute, Dark Nights Film Festival, and the international festival of documentaries and anthropological films, held in Pärnu.
The organisation of film events has been supported by the Ministry of Culture and Gambling Tax Council, some financial assistance to activities related to the field has also come from the Estonian National Culture Foundation.



The field of film-making is indirectly governed by the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act, and Copyright Act.

International activity


The Ministry of Culture has entered into a film production agreement with France, Israel and South Korea. State support for export and internationalisation (including production, export and international co-production) has increased.

A support programme for the Estonian Film Institute called Film Estonia has been launched, which aims at facilitating and increasing the flow of foreign capital to Estonia and fostering cooperation between Estonian and foreign film makers to produce audiovisual works in Estonia. In the 2017, the share of the support programme in the state budget amounted to 2 million euros.

The field of film is not directly regulated by legislation, however, it is indirectly regulated by the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act, as well as the Copyright Act.

Representatives from the Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Film Institute participate in the film policy working groups and processes of the European Union and the European Council.


Institutions that develop Estonian film industry

  • Estonian Digital Centre – agent for post-processing services (digital image, sound processing and copy-making).
  • Viru Film Foundation – a film foundation created as a joint project of Toila, Jõhvi, Mäetaguse and Illuka rural municipalities to support film production in Ida-Virumaa. The purpose of the Viru Film Foundation is to promote the creation of professional audio-visual works in Ida-Virumaa, draw investments to Ida-Virumaa, and to promote Ida-Virumaa in Estonia and abroad.
  • Estonian Film Cluster – an initiative funded from the cluster measure of Enterprise Estonia in order to improve the cooperation between film enterprises and to increase the competitiveness of Estonian film production services in the international market.

Main partners


Estonian Film Institute
The general cinema scene in Estonia is organised by the state-founded foundation Estonian Film Institute (EFI). EFI carries out Estonian film policies. EFI’s activities are supported from the budget of the Ministry of Culture, and in turn, it supports the creation, production and distribution of Estonian films both inside the country and abroad, the development of cross-media projects, and the development and production of high-quality TV series, if possible.
EFI takes care of the digitisation and promotion of our film heritage, and enhances film studies. 
EFI owns the trademark Tallinnfilm and all its legacy, as well as the subsidiary of Tallinnfilm – the Artis Cinema. 
Baltic Film and Media School
International university, which mostly conducts studies in English.  Study programmes include film-making (directing, cinematography, screenwriting, producing, etc.), audiovisual media (with a focus on television), and crossmedia.

Siim Rohtla
Adviser (Audiovisual Field)

Phone +372 628 2238


Last updated: 10 July 2020