Latvia is a refreshingly unexplored destination that offers breathtaking natural landscapes as well as medieval castles and other monuments that make for intriguing backdrops
The Republic of Latvia is located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east and Belarus to the south-east, and the Baltic sea to the west alongside Sweden.
One of Latvia’s biggest advantages lies in its undiscovered locations and the connectivity between them. The capital city Riga is accessible by an average 2-hour flight from any of Europe’s biggest cities while the remotest corners of Latvia can be reached within 3 to 4 hours by car.
In recent years, Latvian locations have doubled as Berlin, St Petersburg, London, the beaches where the Allied invasion of Normandy took place, as well as many other backdrops. Here, you will find picturesque settings for romantic couples falling in love, partially ruined castles for horror themes, and carefully restored manor houses for aristocratic settings.
The country abounds with pristine nature that includes vast forests, large and small lakes, rivers and varying coastlines, cliffs overlooking stunning landscapes, wild stony beaches lined with ancient fishing villages and elegant stretches of white sand adjoining spa towns.
Riga offers filmmakers numerous eclectic eras and styles, including 13th century churches, elegant Art Nouveau buildings, and if you venture a little further a vibrant cultural and commercial scene unfolds amid authentically restored monuments to wooden architecture. The legacy of the Soviet era is also in evidence in the form of giant abandoned industrial buildings and residential areas ravaged by time.
Latvia declared its sovereignty in 1918. The first few years were punctuated by heavy battles with invading forces and work aimed at revitalising the economy. After the Soviet occupation, film production was compelled to chart an ideological course.
Despite this, there was one significant benefit from the era of communist construction work, i.e. Riga Film Studio Pavilions, which although built in the early 1960s, still ranks among the biggest in Northern Europe. Back in the day, Riga Film Studio produced and average 15 films a year, employing up to 1,000 professionals at a time. It was also the home of the Riga Documentary Film Studio.
After Latvia regained independence, the film industry underwent some major changes. While independent studios were founded, there was a rapid decrease in the number of films produced.
This was most severely reflected in the crisis that afflicted the production of feature films. Fortunately, the industry is once again thriving with more and more international filmmakers taking interest in the destination.
Benefits for shooting Indian films in Latvia include incentive schemes with a total of up to 25 per cent of co-financing, countless unique locations, experienced English-speaking crews and flexibility with regard to securing filming permits and locations.
Incentives for International Productions
With established sources of funding and being a member of Eurimage since 2002, Latvia has received support for the production of 16 full-length films. To qualify for support, a project must meet one of the following criteria: It must comply with the terms and conditions for a Latvian film. The planned financial investment from the Latvian side will be not less than 20 per cent in case of bilateral co-production and 10 per cent in the case of multilateral co-production must correspond to Latvian cultural criteria major Co-Productions:
Chronicles of Melanie (2016)
Liberation Day (2016)
Close Relations (2016)
Golden Horse (2014)
Latvian co-financing fund opened up its operations in 2013 and offers total co-financing up to 25 per cent
For more information visit www.nkc.gov.lv
Riga Film Fund opened the operations and caters to international film productions in Riga and is offering a support of EUR 1500000
For more information visit www.filmriga.lv
Ever since their launch, the funds have co-financed 25 international productions from over 10 countries
Main co-financing eligibility criteria:
Film fully or partly shot in Latvia
Services provided by private individuals or legal entities registered in Latvia used in the production of the film.
The total budget of the film must be a minimum EUR 711,463 for a full-length feature or animation and EUR 142,287 for documentaries
On the date of submission of the project, the producer must have 50 per cent of the total film production cost in the company account
Eligible Expense includes costs relating to the production of the film, including:
Administrative, and professional personal costs
Equipment rental and services
Transport services and fuel
Set construction services
Procurement of goods and materials
Artistic and technological services
Lease or rental costs, etc.