MOSCOW -- Latvia has become the first Baltic state to introduce national co-financing grants to help attract foreign productions.
A new $650,000 fund is offering eligible projects up to 25 percent in cash rebates on movies shot in the country.
Tenders for the grants close Friday with funds scheduled to be paid out after completion of filming for successful projects, said Ilze Gailite Holmberg, director of the National Film Center of Latvia.
The grants, which are in addition to money offered to international projects by the region Riga Film Fund, were approved late last month by the country’s parliament.
Gailite Holmberg says that makes Latvia “the Baltics’ only tax-friendly film financing nation.”
She added: “Latvia will be the first Baltic state to have a co-financing program on the national level and I am sure it will attract major foreign film projects as the Riga Film Fund already has been doing."
“Establishing the co-financing program is a strong stimulus for foreign producers to come to Latvia, see our wonderful nature and architecture, work together with our filmmakers in a creative and professional environment and to return for future projects."
The Riga Film Fund had already scored success in attracting projects from Europe, Russia, Japan, India and Korea – including spy thriller The Berlin File, starring Jung-woo Ha, from Korean director Ryoo Seung-wan.
Latvian producers can apply for both the national grant and the Riga Film Fund, if their project meets the criteria of both tenders.
International productions spent an estimated $9.4 million in Latvia last year.