Arts of Survival Documentaries will collect eight short documentaries that are the result of collaborations between Estonian directors and their international peers. Expressing the uniqueness and diversity of South Estonia, the films will be screened in cinemas, on television, and in small villages throughout Estonia—and viewers who are more comfortable in evening gowns and suits will be able to enjoy these films at some of Europe’s most prestigious film festivals.


In 2022-2023 renowned documentary filmmakers from around the world will come to South Estonia for residencies to research documentary subjects that inspire them and start making film. In the global context, Estonia is distinguished by many features—from children’s robotics groups to the natural uniqueness of its wetlands; from active village life to the impact of Jüri Lotman, Uku Masing and Jaan Kaplinski; from shops in the countryside that are undergoing a revival to Tartu’s newest start-ups.


Collaboration as experience: during the residencies, Estonian filmmakers and young film enthusiasts from South Estonia have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with some of the world’s greatest documentary filmmakers—making the process as valuable as the result.

We are particularly thrilled that this project can be shared by all when the films are released in 2024.


Works of cinema spread quickly across the globe, and these documentaries will remain an important record of life in Tartu and South Estonia for generations to come. The filmmakers will provide a high-quality, diverse and honest portrait of the ways of survival that are specific to South Estonia, and new viewpoints on the people, places and culture of the region.

Never before have the details of life and culture in South Estonia been captured on film in such a systematic and comprehensive way.

 Arts of Survival Documentaries is a part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 main programme.


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Doc Box #5: Võru Central Square

20. May, 2023 10:00 - 15. June, 2023 18:00 |

Võru Central Square

Doc Box #6: Sänna Culture Manor

16. June, 2023 12:00 - 06. July, 2023 12:00 |

Sänna Culture Manor

Doc Box #7: Piusa Visitor Center

07. July, 2023 12:00 - 20. July, 2023 12:00 |

Piusa Visitor Center

Film Premier Party

04. May, 2024 00:00 - 04. May, 2023 00:00 |

Southern Estonia


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