Country Focus: Latvia
Baltic film institutions sign a mutual cooperation agreement
- Yesterday, 16 May, the Baltic film institutions signed a mutual cooperation agreement in Cannes. The agreement was signed by Edith Sepp, CEO of the Estonian Film Institute, Dita Rietuma, CEO of the Latvian National Film Centre, and Rolandas Kvietkauskas, CEO of the Lithuanian Film Centre.
On 24 October 2014 in Tallinn, in the spirit of promoting Baltic regional cooperation in the sphere of culture, Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian Ministers of Culture signed a trilateral cultural programme. Now, Baltic film institutions are signing the mutual cooperation agreement giving Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian films a boost, especially in terms of co-productions. Co-producing with neighbours is very common but not encouraged enough in the Baltic region. For this reason, all three countries are considering the possibility of establishing a co-production fund for films and TV productions between the Baltic states. A similar scheme is already in use in the Nordic countries, including the Nordic Film and Television Fund.
Kvietkauskas pointed out the importance of co-productions between the three Baltic countries: "This year, the Lithuanian Film Centre granted ten co-productions with Latvia and Estonia. The funding of €234,000 went to five Lithuanian-Estonian co-productions, and four Lithuanian-Latvian co-productions were given €314,000. The fiction feature Seneca's Day [+see also:
film profile] by Kristijonas Vildžiunas – the first co-production by all three Baltic countries – received support not only from the Lithuanian Film Centre, but also from the Eurimages fund last year."
Furthermore, the institutions agreed to organise events to address areas of common interest. Continuous activities, such as promoting the distribution of Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian films in the Baltic states, will need to improve, and institutions will organise competitions for public funding to support the public exhibition of Baltic films.
In 2018, all three countries will celebrate 100 years of their respective republics. As a result, Estonia will produce up to five productions, including high-budget dramas, one historical film, one youth and children film, and one contemporary drama. Additionally, there will be a feature documentary film and a high-end TV drama in cooperation with local broadcasting and foreign partners. The plan for the realisation of Latvian films for Latvia’s centennial programme includes several rounds of funding tenders, with the aim being to support no fewer than 12 essential feature-length films, including five fiction features (historical films, screen adaptations of literary classics, contemporary dramas, and films aimed at children and youth), one animated film and six documentaries. The total amount of financing to 2017 is €7.5 million. All countries will organise joint events around the Baltic states to promote the anniversary films.