Latvia Awaits 2011 Film Budget

By Daira Abolina

    The Latvian state budget for culture and the film industry will be approved at the beginning of 2011. The good news is that after the dramatic decrease in funding in 2009, which scaled financing back to 2002 levels, there is hope that there will not be any further decreases next year.

    The Director of the National Film Center (www.nfc.lv) Ilze Gailīte-Holmberga told FNE, "For 2011, the planned film funding budget in Latvia via the Ministry of Culture budget is approximately 1.5 million EUR, thus remaining on roughly the same level as in 2010."

    Given the situation, it's almost impossible to make a film using only state financing, even for specifically national films. A producer's level of professionalism and ability to secure local and international funding is of considerable importance.

    "Public television input into national film is non-existent. A private television company - LNT -- has contributed to the production of a full-length feature in 2010: The Dream Team 1935 (director Aigars Grauba, www.cinevilla.lv). Several films were produced or in production in the last two years where private investment has been dominant or significant, such as The Amateur by Janis Nords, Amaya (Hong Kong Confidential) by Maris Martinsons, (www.krukfilms.lv), I Want Your Girl by Miks Ozolins, Mushroomers by Ivars Tontegode, and a few others. It is fair to say that the trend of attracting private investment to film is a new phenomenon, however one that is slowly and steadily on the rise," Gailīte-Holmberga said .

    It's especially significant that in the last few years Latvian film projects have successfully competed for European co-production funding.

    "A comparatively important source of financing for the Latvian film industry in 2010 was the Media 2007 programme, with an approximately 447,000 EUR contribution to various film industry projects," Gailīte-Holmberga said.

    Eight Latvian co-production projects have received Eurimage support in recent years, with Ls 50,000 in co-funding from the state budget for projects supported by Media or Eurimage.