Following hot on the heels of Poland, Latvia is now the second of the East European countries to become a member of the European Union's (EU) MEDIA Plus Programme.

Latvia's Ambassador to the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable Latvian professionals to participate in the audiovisual programme.

Preparations had already been underway ahead of the Memorandum's signing with a MEDIA Desk being set up at the National Film Centre of Latvia (NFC) headed by former NFC International Relations Manager Lelda Ozola.

NFC's managing director Bruno Ascuks added that four applications had already been made for project development support to meet the development action line's July 1 deadline.

The membership of MEDIA Plus follows Latvia's decision to become the 27th member state of the Council of Europe's pan-European co-production fund Eurimages as of January 2002. The first project with Latvian involvement to benefit from this participation is Mika Kaurismaki's Honey Baby which will be partly shot in Latvia later this year with German and Finnish production partners.