The Nukufilm OÜ is the biggest stop-motion animation studio in Northern Europe for its size of the studio, technical supplies and number of employees.
Established in 1957
Studio "Nukufilm" dates back to 1957, when cinema enthusiast Elbert Tuganov shot the first animation film "Peetrikese unenägu" ("Little Peter's Dream"). His "Metsamuinasjutt" ("Forest Fairytale") (1960) and "Ott Kosmoses" ("Ott in Space") (1961) were the first to be internationally acknowledged. Some years later Heino Pars started to direct films. In 2008 a documentary from those two legendary stop motion directors was made - “Kings of the Time” by Mait Laas.
The "Nukufilm" has produced over 200 different animations and cartoons during its 60 years. Despite of the USSR constant government censorship, though financed by State of USSR, the international film festivals took even more interest towards the "Nukufilm".
From state to private company
In the beginning of 80-s a so called new wave was happening in Nukufilm. New artists and directors brought new visions and ideas to the studio. Most of them are working as artists and directors even today - Riho Unt, Hardi Volmer, Kalju Kivi, Mati Kütt, Rao Heidmets. Even though Estonia became independent in 1991 and the "Nukufilm" changed from a state company into a private company, it has not interfered the constant production of films.
Awards from international film festivals (i.e. Zagreb, Tampere, Annecy, Ottawa, Leipzig etc.) have brought the "Nukufilm" in front of the foreign producers. Norwegian and Finnish animation schools consider Estonian animators as high professionals who are asked to lecture in their universities. Foreign universities and companies from Finland, Norway, Sweden, England and USA send their students and animators to Estonia as to study and practice.