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Overview and contact

Founding the Estonian Film Information System (EFIS) and Estonian Film Database (EFDB)  to Preserve the National Film Heritage and Make it Accessible to the Public

2012 is the year of film – we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Estonian film. One of the most significant undertakings planned for this occasion is the creation of the Estonian film database (electronic national filmography). Performing this large-scale task was undertaken by the MTÜ Eesti Filmi Andmebaas (the non-profit association Estonian Film Database, hereinafter MTÜ EFA) which was founded in the late autumn of 2007. The main objective of the undertaking is to form the complete Estonian national filmography within ten years (2007–2017) and make it available in a web environment to everyone interested, both in Estonian and abroad.

Rich Cultural Heritage

More than 15,000 films and newsreels have been made in Estonia in nearly one hundred years. Feature films, documentaries and popular films, anima, television, educational programmes, advertising films and newsreels form a rich collection of the life, history, culture and people of Estonia. Nearly 3,000 filmmakers and most of Estonian actors and actresses have participated in creating the Estonian film heritage. Several thousands of people, events, places, offices and institutions in Estonia participate in or are mentioned in the films. The information about the films that we have for now is, however, unfortunately incomplete, partly unsynchronised, lacking, scattered in different places and mostly limited to the content on paper mediums. The planned electronic database will open the film treasury in a summarised way, employing all possibilities offered by modern electronic databases. A list of data will be prepared for each film, person and institution in the extensive space of attributes with search options, which will combine the interactive features of a film directory and bibliographical, biographical and audio-visual databases.

The creation of such a voluminous collection of information and gathering the data is a laborious and expensive undertaking, which has been supported by all key organisations associated with our film industry – the Ministry of Culture, the Estonian Film Foundation, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Estonian Public Broadcasting, AS Tallinnfilm, the National Archives of Estonia, the Estonian Filmmakers’ Union, the Baltic Film and Media School, the Estonian Film Journalists Association, Estonian Film 100 and MTÜ Eesti Filmi Andmebaas. On January 20, 2009, they all entered into a common intentions agreement to support the founding of the national filmography. Our work has been backed by substantial financial means from EU Structural Fund (via EIC) and Social Fund (via INNOVE).

Founding the Electronic National Filmography

The coding instructions of the electronic database have been prepared. Each film is described as thoroughly as possible. The attributes of films contain data about the subject, genre, authors, cast, production team, locations, producers, copyrights and distributors of films and about the technical parameters of films, as well as the bibliography of films, references to the reviews, articles, books published about films and the makers of films, digitised frames and pictures from films, trailers and promotional clips, scripts, memories of the makers and other interesting details. The content of films is coded in a way which would enable to search films by content, people, time, events and locations in the web. All films are thoroughly equipped with keywords, which enable thorough content and subject searches. All filmmakers will be given their personal websites, which will provide an overview of their creative careers and filomographies.

The computer software of the Estonian Film Information System (EFIS) and the web environment based on it will be ready in the midsummer of 2011 with the financial support of the European Regional Development Fund (implementing unit Estonian Informatics Centre – RIA). The work will be carried out by Mindware OÜ, who won the public procurement among the seven companies that participated.

The electronic film database will be interfaced with other similar databases at the Estonian Public Broadcasting, at the film archive of the National Archives, at the National Library, at the Baltic Film and Media School of the Tallinn University, etc. The web interface will offer the possibility to enter with an ID-card and will allow advancing into the digital storage of the Estonian Public Broadcasting, where it is possible to view the films produced by EPB and purchase them for downloading. We are planning to offer a similar service in the database to be created. The filmo-graphy web will be interfaced with modern social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc). The database will be created while keeping in mind the possibility to interlink it with the European Film Gateway in the future, thus offering access to a digitised film treasury through Europeana.

In order to prepare the employees required to create the information system, in cooperation with the EU Social Fund (implementing unit INNOVE) MTÜ EFA organised a training that lasted four and a half months, from September 2010 to the end of January 2011. The training was meant for the content editors/coders of the database and 27 students took part in it. 13 of them started working on entering film data in February 2011.

The electronic national filmography will be prepared stage by stage in the period from 2011–2020. The first part of the database and the web interface will be made available to the public at the end of  celebrating the 100th anniversary of Estonian film in the year 2012 on December 12. Then, fully completed data of all full length feature films produced in Estonia throughout 100 years the complete data about the newsreels and documentaries made between 1912–1940 (a total of approximately 1100) will become available, as well as data of television and student films. The rest of the entries are partial and will be completed during the next five years.    

MTÜ EFA is managed by Reet Sokmann, film producer at F-Seitse, as a project manager, and Hagi Shein, the Head of the Media Department the Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School, as the editor-in-chief. The IT specialist is Jaanus Loitmaa.

Film producers and creators, and those interested in films can contribute to the creation of the database and the reliability of its content. The same goes for other people interested in cooperating with us and helping us and with whom MTÜ EFA is already in close cooperation.

Translation of the database into English is done on the constant basis. 

E-mail: efa@efa.ee, phone +372 6015982

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Recognition of the Database

Eesti parim kolmanda sektori e-teenus 2015

Republic of Estonia Information System Authority jury comprising industry experts selected the Estonian Film Database to be the winner in civil society e-services category for 2015

Contributor Zone

Contact and commitments

We will be glad to assist you if you would have any questions or need for help regarding Estonian film heritage.

Estonian Film Database (EFDB)

The database is maintained by NGO Estonian Film Database. It was opened on 12.12.2012 and is meant for providing information about the whole Estonian film heritage from 1912. We plan fully complete it by 2022 but already now full and partial entries for about 16 000 films, 9000 filmmakers and more than 200 production companies could be retrieved in Estonian and partly in English. Translation of film descriptions and keywords into English is an ongoing process. Read more detailed overview.

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How to obtain a film copy

Please find an instruction how to obtain a copy of a film or newsreel for personal use from here.

MTÜ Eesti Filmi Andmebaas

ERR Archive

Film Archive

Partners and Sponsors

  • Kultuuriministeerium
  • EFSA
  • Eesti Kultuurkapital
  • ERR
  • Rahvusarhiiv
  • BFM
  • Kinoliit
  • Eesti Filmiajakirjanike ühing
  • Tallinnfilm