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Dita Rietuma • Directrice du Centre national de la cinématographie de Lettonie

"En 2018, nous avons battu tous nos records d'entrées et produit plus de films que jamais en une année"


- Entretien avec Dita Rietuma, la directrice du Centre national de la cinématographie de Lettonie, dont le discours a ouvert la conférence Magnetic Latvia la semaine prochaine

Dita Rietuma  • Directrice du Centre national de la cinématographie de Lettonie
(© Magnetic Latvia/LIAA)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

This year, Riga hosted the first Magnetic Latvia Film Conference, organised by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and held from 18-19 October. The two-day event attracted a number of prestigious speakers and guests from the global audiovisual industry, and promoted Latvia as a centre of excellence for international film and television production.

We met up with Dita Rietuma, head of the National Film Centre, the country's main audiovisual agency. In her inaugural speech, Rietuma highlighted 2018 as the best year ever for Latvian cinema, mostly driven by the successful box-office results of five domestic films that made it into the annual top ten. “This year,” Rietuma added, “we submitted two entries to Cannes, J-P Valkeapää's Dogs Don't Wear Pants [+lire aussi :
interview : J.-P. Valkeapää
fiche film
and Juris Kursietis' Oleg [+lire aussi :
interview : Juris Kursietis
fiche film
. The latter recently earned itself a nomination for Best Feature Film at the European Film Awards.”

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Cineuropa: Why is this conference so important for the Northern European film market and the Baltic region?
Dita Rietuma: This is an initiative of our national Investment and Development Agency. They are very generous in their help and support for the Latvian film industry. The conference represents a unique opportunity to attract decision-makers from the European and international film industry. Here, we can sit down, talk and share our perspectives on different aspects of our work, such as co-operation, co-productions, tax credits, cash rebates and the different perks brought by these incentives. Perhaps the most important topic to cover today is how to get film productions from smaller countries up on the international stage.

What are the main drivers for the growth of the Latvian film industry?
We have quite a successful cash-rebate system, the first of its kind in the Baltics, and it has been in operation since 2013. Specifically, we have two funding schemes, which can be combined by foreign producers wishing to shoot in Latvia, and these can cover up to 40% of their production spend [the first is offered by the National Film Centre, the second by the Riga Film Fund]. Of course, Latvia also has a diverse landscape, which allows crews to find a huge number of astonishing locations. For instance, in some films, Riga has been used to replace Paris, or you can find historical buildings from the Soviet era, and so on.

We're also aware that we're not alone. Especially recently, we have been co-operating a lot with our Lithuanian and Estonian partners, in terms of both creative input and co-productions. During the last five years, for example, we have had 22 co-productions with Lithuania, but we’ve opened up opportunities with other European countries as well [for instance, Madara Dišlere's Paradise '89, co-produced with Germany, and Aigars Grauba's The Pagan King, a British-Latvian co-production]. Every year, we publish a call for co-productions, minority co-productions and, obviously, cash rebates. This is what we can offer now.

Which areas may need more development?
At the moment, the Latvian industry is in pretty good shape. In 2018, we broke all of our admission records, and we produced the highest number of films ever. This was certainly driven by the celebration of the Latvian Republic's centenary and the subsequent extra funds we were granted by the government. Now, we are hoping to keep the annual grants at nearly the same level. Should we succeed, then it will be our hope to really be on the radar.

Are you planning any further promotional initiatives with the Investment and Development Agency?
Every year, the agency backs our participation in the Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival. They support us in covering our pavilion's expenses; this is already a stable collaboration and will continue next year. If this conference is successful – and I feel it is, already, as the panels are diverse and challenging – we may continue our co-operation on this initiative, too.

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