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INDUSTRY / MARKET Lithuania

The Lithuanian film sector gets a €6.2 million boost to fight the pandemic

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- By launching a series of multifaceted support grants and extra funding, the Lithuanian Film Centre aims to help the local industry overcome the losses and challenges it is still facing

The Lithuanian film sector gets a €6.2 million boost to fight the pandemic

As the pandemic continues to hit the Lithuanian film industry, which has been suffering losses and is sure to encounter more challenges in the near future, the Lithuanian Film Centre (LFC) has identified the most sorely affected areas and intends to support them in their time of need. In a recent report, it announced that a total of €6.2 million has been provided by the LFC to help counter the problems created by COVID-19. This multifaceted funding scheme for the local film sector is the only one of its kind in the Baltic states.

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In more detail, additional support of €475,080 has been provided to 28 film projects that are currently at the production stage. Also, a sizeable proportion of the total amount was distributed with the aim of backing new content, as €2,717,850 were shared among 63 new film and TV projects during the most recent funding slate, which was announced in the summer (see the news). Furthermore, an additional fund of €118,800 was granted to 48 individual scriptwriters and authors for the writing and development of their new screenplays, or those who are preparing publications and research reports on the subject of cinema.

In the exhibition sector, the LFC has issued one-off grants that were intended for cinemas and film distributors in an attempt to minimise their losses, with a budget totalling €2.8 million. More precisely, 18 cinemas will receive €2.24 million in support, while 12 film distribution companies will be funded with the remaining €560,000. The decision on the support came after an economic analysis that was specifically requested by the LFC, during a period when the pandemic was at its peak (see the news). Based on the data received by cinema operators, by the end of the year, the market will have lost approximately €12 million, more than €8 million of which stems from ticket sales alone, while the remaining €4 million represent losses from other sales, such as drinks and snacks.

Also, following the reopening of cinemas in June, after they had remained closed for 13 weeks, in collaboration with Lithuanian National Radio and Television, the LFC initiated a nationwide campaign called “After Dark Come the Films” in order to encourage viewers to return to their favourite cinemas across Lithuania. Owing to the limitations that were imposed upon all cultural and film events, and after evaluation of the additional demand for the film events and festivals still to take place this year, a further grant of €88,270 was provided to 21 events so as to cover their expenses.

Finally, in order to reduce the administrative burden on the film industry, production and distribution companies will be included on the list of firms compiled by the Lithuanian State Tax Inspectorate (STI). In practical terms, this means that the listed companies will be exempt from interest on arrears and tax recovery, and they will be able to pay taxes once the state of emergency has come to an end or to create a tax loan agreement.

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