Lithuanian Incentives Drive Film Industry


    TALLINN: Lithuania will be measuring the success of the first year of its film incentives scheme, but Lithuanian Film Center director Roladas Kvietkauskus is already listing the benefits.

    Speaking with FNE at the Baltic Event, Kvietkauskus said the effects of the film incentives on Lithuania have included work for local film professionals, training and development of their skills, the possibility to support commercial and genre films, economic impact on local regions and cities and a growing profile for Lithuania on the international film scene.

    The incentives also had an unexpected impact. “Some projects that started as pure film services turned into coproductions,” Kvietkauskus told FNE. In just the first eleven months, Lithuania has attracted films from the UK, Russia, Finland, Spain, and the US. The 20 percent tax rebate has a cap of 60m EUR spread across five years and was determined based on capacity, but it is expected that if the demand is higher, the cap will be raised. The rebate is intended to attract mid-budget films and portions of big budget productions.

    Lithuania’s film budget will stay steady at 2.1m EUR in 2015, Kvietkauskus said, and for the first time, Lithuania will introduce a minority coproduction slot. The official slot comes in recognition of a trend already underway. In 2014, Lithuania supported three minority coproductions, all with other Baltic and Nordic countries. The center supports from five to seven productions each year, with funding normallysplit across two years. In 2015, two Lithuanian films are expected to be released.

    Lithuania’s presence on the international stage is beginning to grow. “We want to foster relations with our neighbors,” Kvietkauskus said. “A Lithuanian/Polish connection is an obvious next step.” He added, “We want to be more active in industry events that have a Baltic aspect.” One of the proposals on the table is the development of a Baltic distribution network. A possible way to establish that could be through the first all-Baltic coproduction, Seneca’s Day from Lithuanian director Kristijonas Vildzunas and coproduced by Studio Uljana Kim (Lithuania), Amrion (Estonia) and Locomotive Productions (Latvia).