Film financing in Lithuania: Rasa Miskiniyte

    Producer Rasa Miskiniyte's 600,000 euro documentary The Bug Trainer is a tribute to persistence and diligence in the face of limited national funding resources.

    In fact, you could call it the EU MEDIA programme poster child.

    "There no real cooperation in Lithuania," Miskiniyte told FNE at the Arsenals film festival in Riga, where the documentary about the creator of puppet animation was selected for the Baltic Film Competition. "There is an independent producers association, but the producers are each fighting for their own project."

    Miskiniyte, who took her film through all three of the MEDIA programme's producer training sessions, aggressively pursued outside investors to supplement the 30% of the budget that was funded by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture. The MEDIA programme chipped in with 20% and the Polish Film Institute provided another 20% of the budget -- and Oscar-winning animator Marek Skrobecki, credited along with Lithuanians Donatas Ulvydas and Linas Augutis as directors. Along the way, public TV channels from Japan (NHK), the Netherlands (AVRD), and Finland (YLE) came on as co-producers. Pre-sales to stations in Denmark (DR), Sweden (SVT), Norway (NRK), Switzerland (TSR), Estonia (ETV), and Lithuania (LRT) completed the financial package. Miskiniyte calls it "the first project to achieve such broad cooperation."

    The entire process took nine years.

    But Miskiniyte isn't finished yet. She's considering through the MEDIA distribution programme with a Lithuanian distribution partner.

    The producer's company, Era Film, holds world wide rights, excepting Poland. The Bug Trainer is just beginning its path on the international festival circuit, following screenings in Karlovy Vary and Riga. Look for it on a European TV station near you beginning in February.