Pärnu International Documentary and Science Film Festival

  October 12 - 18, 2020









for the Pärnu International Documentary and Science Film Festival


General Information and Background

  1. Born from Lennart Meri’s idea in 1987, Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival is the oldest of its kind in the Baltic countries. We seek authentic documentary stories and masterpieces on survival of indigenous peoples through dramatic conflicts in highly developed societies.

    Program also includes social interpretations of contemporary society, portraits of interesting people and human relations as well as films on music and art.
    Children and youth have always been included, both at workshops and watching the competition program of children and youth films. 

    Main subjects of the festival are: Human Interest, Social Issues, Art, Music, Culture, Survival of Indigenous Cultures, Docs for Kids, Author's POV. 

  1. Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival was renamed Pärnu International Documentary and Science Film Festival in 2019 and is also known as Pärnu Film Festival.

  1. The 34rd Pärnu Film Festival will take place from October 12 to October 18, 2020.

  1. The aim of the festival in general is to support cultural survival of peoples. Only documentary films of high value and quality, recording human activities in social, historical or ecological context are accepted for competition screenings. We do not accept films which are against human values or encourage hatred and discrimination between races, neighbors, and nations. Films of high level of creativity and rigorous scientific content, as well as new forms of audiovisual expression are preferred.

  1. The official language of the festival is English.

General Festival Screening Requirements

  1. The length of films for the competition is not limited.

  2. In terms of screenings at other festivals, and earlier awards, there are no restrictions for the submission of films.

  3. In terms of years of production, and dates of first public screenings, there are no restrictions for the submission of films.

  4. Films which have not been selected for competition may be shown in the information program of the festival.

  5. Films and videos can only be shown at the festival if they have English commentary and/or English dialogue, or English subtitles in their original versions.

  6. The Pärnu Film Festival accepts the following screening formats:
    a) files with full HD resolution: mov, avi, mp4, etc.
    b) discs: BluRay, DVD
    c) DCP

    Presentation of other formats and video systems requires the authorisation of the festival.

Entering Your Film

  1. The deadline for entries is July 1, 2020.
    We would greatly appreciate it if you could enter your documentary as early as possible.

  2. The early deadline for entries for Estonian People's Award is June 1, 2020. The early deadline is necessary because of the long purchase process to obtain TV broadcast license.

  3. The Pärnu Film Festival must receive:

    a) A completed entry form available at our homepage ( On the entry form, you will be asked to provide detailed information of the film, and a synopsis.

    b) preview screener in file format or as an online link. Submitted film or films should have an English voice-over or English dialogue or English subtitles.

    The e-mail address for sending video files, links and other submission materials is "festival @"
    Please send all questions concerning submissions to the e-mail "festival @"

  1. No entry fees are required for submitting films or videos to the festival.

  2. The festival is a low budget non-profit event and does not pay screening fees! All our screenings are public and free of charge to the audience.

  3. The submitted material will not be returned to the entrants.

  4. If there are sent preview DVD or Bluray discs of the films, these discs will stay in the library of the festival, located in the Museum of New Art of Pärnu, for educational use only.

Selection Procedure and Follow-Up

  1. The festival management selects the documentaries that will participate in the Pärnu Film Festival program. In case of a film being selected, the festival will notify the applicant of the film (who submitted the entry form) by August 15, 2020 at the latest.

  2. After the selection, the following materials must be sent to the festival by September 1, 2020:
    * Two high-resolution film stills or 2 photos of the film (full-colour, resolution of 300 dpi, preferably in JPG format).
    * The dialogue list in English for the translation department.

    The e-mail for sending required materials is "festival @" .


  3. Authorizations. After the selection of a documentary, the festival has a right to:
    * Screen the film at the festival theatres during the festival dates as many times as the program department has decided.
    * Use a maximum of 5 minutes of video from the documentary or the film trailer for broadcasting, publicity and online purposes.
    * Use the publicity material of the selected film (electronic press kit, press books, posters, stills, etc.) to promote the festival.
    * Keep the DVDs, Blurays and video files of selected documentaries in its archive for non-circulating reference and educational purposes.
    * After the festival, the selected films may be screened at the ‘Pärnu FF on Tour’ for free. This selection of festival films will be screened after the festival in a limited number of Estonian theatres, and all screenings have to be free to public.
    * After the festival, the selected films may be screened twice at the Museum of New Art to promote Pärnu Film Festival. The screenings are free of charge to public.

  4. The festival must receive the screening copy of the documentary by September 15, 2020.
    Only the shipping costs of returning the screening copy will be paid by the festival. The festival will not cover the international insurance costs of the screeners.

  5. The festival can use the preview DVD/BluRay disc or preview file as a screening copy if the submitter of the film confirms it on the entry form!

  6. The festival will return the screening copy within four weeks after the festival.

  7. Invitations. The authors of the films selected to the competition will be invited to the festival. The festival is unable to cover travel expenses or accommodation of film makers.

Juries and Awards

  1. The organizers of the festival will nominate the jury members, who are outstanding film makers and professionals in the field from different countries.

  2. Festival prizes. There are 4 categories of competition:

    • Grand Prize of the festival for the best artistic achievement
    • The best film on survival of indigenous peoples
    • The best scientific audiovisual recording of rituals
    • The best short documentary
    • The best music film and/or • The best art film

    • The best children documentary

    • The best Estonian documentary

    TV-COMPETITION on Estonian Television
    • The Estonian People's Award (according to TV-voting)
    During the festival, a selected program of six outstanding documentaries will be broadcast on Estonian TV. The TV-audience will vote for the best film to be awarded with the ESTONIAN PEOPLE'S AWARD. The award ceremony will take place by late night on Saturday, October 17th, 2020.

    The jury may grant Special Jury Awards.

  3. All decisions made by the festival management and the jury are final. The entry and participation of documentaries implies acceptance of the festival regulations.

Closing Entry

  1. Before submitting an entry form to Pärnu Film Festival, please read through the festival regulations! By submitting (sending) the entry form you accept the festival regulations.

  2. If the documentary does not meet all the requirements mentioned above, it will not be eligible for selection.

  3. All materials, as well as correspondence, should be addressed to Pärnu Film Festival, Esplanaadi St. 10, Pärnu 80010, Estonia.

  4. Other contacts of the festival:
    Tel +372 4430772
    Tel +372 5024947
    Tel +372 55661974
    E-mail: festival@

  5. Questions concerning regulations and/or entry forms should be addressed to or to the chief of festival Mark Soosaar: .

© Pärnu RVA Ühing, Esplanaadi 10, Pärnu