The extremely high scintillation efficiency of lutetium iodide doped by cerium is explained as a result of several factors controlling the energy transfer from the host matrix to activator, two of which are investigated in the present paper. The first one is the increase of the efficiency of energy transfer from self-trapped excitons to cerium ions in the row LuCl3-LuBr3-LuI3. The STE structure and the efficiency of STE to cerium energy transfer are verified by cluster ab initio calculations. We propose and theoretically validate the possibility of a new channel of energy transfer to excitons and directly to cerium, namely the Auger process when Lu 4f hole relaxes to the valence band hole with simultaneous creation of additional exciton or excitation of cerium. This process should be efficient in LuI3, and inefficient in LuCl3. In order to justify this channel we perform calculations of density of states using a periodic plane-wave density functional approach. The performed estimations theoretically justify the high LuI3:Ce3+ scintillator yield.