2012 has been officially named as the Year of Film by the Ministry.
In 2012 the Film Museum opened as part of the Estonian History Museum, and the Baltic Media and Film College acquired a new building at the University of Tallinn.
4.3 Other relevant issues and debates
Public debate on cultural policy has widened and grown considerably over the past years, involving representatives of different generations and different positions. Cultural policy often figured as an issue of debate in Estonian newspapers also in 2012.
Whereas the budget cuts appeared in public discussion often through scandals, more recently debate has taken a more constructive turn, partly due to the Ministry of Culture's willingness to enter into discussion and open the starting points for reform initiatives. Recently a document outlining the policy directions for 2014-2020 (Kultuur 2020) has generated much debate both within disciplines such as arts and film, but also across disciplinary boundaries.
Much public discussion over culture during 2011 was centred around the European Capital of Culture in Tallinn. It generated much funding for the cultural scene, that was felt vividly, but the following year cultural producers had to be content with fewer resources.
Public controversy has also continued about monuments and memorial sites. In April 2007, a Soviet war memorial that stood on a central location in Tallinn was, by Government Decision, relocated to the Military Cemetery in the outskirts of the city. The action led to large-scale demonstrations and a subsequent violent street riot in Tallinn. In April 2009, discussion on the events was revived by an arts project by Kristina Norman called "After War" (locally known as the Golden Soldier) which represented Estonia at the Venice Biennial 2009. The project created a vivid media dispute about the roles and expectations of culture locally and internationally. In June 2009, the new Monument for Estonia's War of Freedom was finally completed and solemnly unveiled. A competition for the planned new monument in Tallinn was organised by the Ministry of Defence in 2007. The outcome was criticised by several prominent artists and architects as representing outdated aesthetics, as too costly, as giving undue prominence to a religious symbol – the cross – and as being too high in comparison to its immediate environment, the Old Town of Tallinn, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The completed monument has continued to divide opinion.
Active public discussion in the cultural field has been raised by a preparation of the so-called Percent Law by the Ministry of Culture that was adopted in 2010, and came into force in January 2011. The Law was actively lobbied by the local intelligentsia and members of the Estonian Artists' Association in the local media as well as internationally, calling it a "way out from the highway of mediocracy" and "the law of saving art". The Law (actually an amendment to the Law on Public Tenders) regulates the design of spaces in and around public buildings and aims to engage artists in these activities through competitions that public bodies will organize. According to it, one per cent of investments made for new public buildings should be earmarked for objects of art or interior design (the maximum cost is regulated by the law at 65 000 EUR).
According to a recent tradition, the Ministry of Culture organises thematic years dedicated to particular fields in the arts. The year 2010 was the National Year of Reading aimed at promoting reading and valuing Estonian literature. The Year of Reading was celebrated in Estonia and outside Estonia. A wider aim of prioritising literature is to introduce and mediate Estonian literature through supporting participating at international book fairs, organising national literature festivals and translating Estonian literature into foreign languages. In 2011, the cultural offering throughout different fields of culture remained focused on the European Cultural Capital and no specific thematic year was announced. 2012 was announced the Year of Cinematography, with a special focus on local film production. In autumn 2012 the Film Museum was opened as part of the Estonian History Museum, and the Baltic Media and Film College acquired a new building at the University of Tallinn. A digital database of Estonian Film (http://www.efis.ee) was launched at the end of the year. 2013 has been announced as the Year of Cultural Heritage by the Ministry.