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National Film Centre set to open in 2009


National Film Centre set to open in 2009

Lithuania, the only Baltic republic without a national film organisation, is on the verge of getting a National Film Centre. A new Cinema Law is being drafted, taking into consideration the regulations for a future centre, based on a project approved by the country’s Ministry of Culture on July 29 of this year.

The future Film Centre will coordinate all film production and distribution activities in the Republic of Lithuania and will replace the existing dual support system from the Ministry of Culture and the Culture and Sport Support Foundation.

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“The government has approved the project for the National Film Centre, which I hope will be launched in 2009,” said Gerda Butkuviené, Chief Officer of Cinema at the Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture.

The 2008 budget for film from the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture is €2.3m. Between two to three Lithuanian feature films are produced each year.

According to Butkuviené, another priority for the Lithuanian film industry is to develop international relations. The country ratified the European Convention on cinema co-production in 1999 but doesn’t have any bilateral co-production agreements in place yet.

Lithuania joined Eurimages in May 2007 and the first feature film that received a grant from the Council of Europe Film Production Support last July was the urban road movie Low Lights by Ignas Miškinis (Diringas), produced by Ieva Norvilienė (Tremora). The €1m project, currently shooting, is co-produced with Germany’s Dagstar Film and with support from Filmstiftung NRW and DFFF.

“We couldn’t get more support from our funds in Lithuania, so thanks to Eurimages we can make a film which meets European standards and we can achieve our creative ideas,” stressed Norvilienė.

Meanwhile, Tremora’s other production, The Collectress [+see also:
film profile
, which screened in Karlovy Vary 2008, is continuing its festival tour with Pusan and Sao Paulo this month and Valencia and Mannheim-Heidelberg next month.

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