MOVIE NIGHT: Tax incentives are expected to bring in more film production to Lithuania.
VILNIUS - Vilnius may soon witness an influx of the world’s most famous film directors and actors, as on April 19, the national government approved an amendment submitted by the Ministry of Finance that provides tax incentives for film production, reports Filmvilnius.com. The Vilnius Film Office predicts that the decision, which was eagerly awaited by the Lithuanian film industry for several years, will ensure that Lithuania has a competitive presence in the international film arena.
Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, welcomed the decision and hoped that Parliament will evaluate the undeniable benefits when considering this amendment.
“We really look forward to the return of Edward Zwick, the director of ‘Blood Diamond’ and ‘Defiance’ and world-renowned actors Daniel Craig and Jeremy Irons to Vilnius. Following the adoption of this law, negotiations with film makers of such high calibre will once again be possible,” says Zuokas.
Foreign film makers who appreciate the Lithuanian landscape, architecture and professional work are also eagerly awaiting the amendment of this income tax law. Richard McCallum, the producer of some of the best and most profitable top-ten films, like ‘Star wars’ and ‘Young Indiana Jones,’ has explored locations for his new film in Vilnius over the last week and said that, following the approval of the amendment by Lithuania’s Parliament, opportunities would open in Vilnius for international projects worth millions.
“When a similar law incentive took effect in Hungary, foreign films produced in the country have increased seven-fold. Within five years, film production grew by a hundred million litas. Latvia is the only country among our neighbors that has a similar tax exemption and with which we currently compete. It still has a competitive advantage because such an incentive is already in effect. After the approval of this amendment, Vilnius would become a great center of attraction for films from both Hollywood and other European countries. We are grateful to the Ministry of Finance for having the courage to take these vital measures necessary for our film industry,” said Jurate Pazikaite, the director of Vilnius Film Office.
The advantages of the exemptions are also noted by Lithuanian film producers.
“It is very important because this system will attract private Lithuanian investors to film production too. Such an amendment would help Lithuanian film makers find partners abroad to co-produce films,” said Kestutis Drazdauskas, chairman of the Independent Producers Association of Lithuania.