Latvia looks to attract production to its capital, Riga, with new film fund.

Latvia has launched a 15% film production rebate in a bid to encourage projects to shoot in the capital, Riga.

Local and international productions will be eligible for rebates on selected production-related costs once a project has wrapped.

Ilze Gailite Holmberg, managing director of Latvia’s National Film Centre, said: “The Riga Film Fund is a strong stimulus for developing the Latvian film industry, and is especially important at a time when production at local studios is decreasing due to cuts within the film industry.”

Features and documentaries with a minimum budget of $969,000 (LVL 500,000) can apply for the rebate and they will be subject to a minimal cultural test. Non-Latvian producers must have a local partner in order to access the rebate. Eligible costs include use of local infrastructure, locations, equipment, accommodation, and crews.

The level of the rebate ranges from 7% to 15%, depending on a number of factors. While productions shooting in Latvia are eligible for a 7% rebate, those shooting in Riga can get 10%. That level rises to 13% if key creatives and lead actors are Latvian citizens. The full 15% is available to productions which use Riga for stories that are about or set in the city.

In theory, the new Latvian rebate can be combined with other sources of soft money. Latvia is party to Eurimages and MEDIA and the fund is not subject to European approval as it is a municipal initiative.

The National Film Centre has not announced the total amount of funding available for 2010, which will be used as a trial to determine the level of producers’ interest. The scheme will need to be reaffirmed every fiscal year.

The Riga Film Fund will accept applications four times a year and the deadline for the first round is April 6.