This Jewel of the Baltic is an upcoming filming destination made sweeter by a graded inventive programme
Riga is experiencing a new renaissance as the capital of Latvia, and many large-scale restoration projects on old buildings have made this city one of the most attractive cities in Europe. Most famously, Riga is home to the largest concentration of German Art Nouveau architecture in the world. It has become an increasingly popular destination for Europeans drawn by its old town, historical importance and reputation as having the best nightlife in Europe.
Riga is the gem of the Baltic. It is situated at the mouth of the river Daugava, on the shores of the Gulf of Riga on the Baltic. It has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage, which charms the filmmakers. The city has always been at a juncture of trading routes, a multicultural city, which means there are ample picturesque places to electrify the lens.
Located in Northern-Eastern Europe, only a 2-hour flight away from London, Paris, and Moscow, Riga is a compact but extensive reservoir of diverse undiscovered filmmaking locations. Riga Airport is the largest airport in the Baltic states and one of the largest airports in Northern Europe. It is possible to get here from 83 direct destinations. It also has an international railway station, bus terminal and passenger port. There’s a wide range of public transportation options to get around the city.
Riga is included in UNESCO World heritage for its medieval architecture. This city is a starting point on the way to Latvian charming, unspoilt nature, sea, fields, forests, swamps, manors and colorful towns.
The great supply of services offered in Northern Europe is even more valuable when combined with the pearls Latvia has to offer. Even the most fastidious filmmakers will find the shot of a lifetime among the wonderful architectural monuments, fantastic variety of original landscapes or even discrepant objects of infrastructure in Riga.
The climate of Riga is influenced by its proximity to the sea. Therefore, it is moderately warm and humid. Summers are cool and cloudy. Winters are comparatively warm with frequent thaws. Snow covers form in mid-December and remains through the middle of March. About 40 per cent of the days in a year are cloudy.
Foreign and Latvian co-productions with a budget of no less than € 700,000 will get up to a 20-per cent cash rebate on their total eligible expenditure. Full discount if the storyline is set in Riga or reflecting Riga as itself and for the most part made in Riga and less if it is filmed anywhere in Latvia but using the services of Riga-based companies.
Eligible expenses spent:
• Cash rebate 15 per cent – for films where Riga is portrayed as itself
• 13 per cent – if the director, scriptwriter, music author or main actors of the foreign film are inhabitants of Latvia
• 10 per cent – if the film is shot in the territory of Riga (but Riga is not portrayed as Riga)
• 7 per cent – if the film is shot in the territory of Latvia but the service providers are companies based in Riga
Eligible expenses: Film-related transport, location and technical equipment rentals, catering, accommodation, public facilities, construction facilities, artistic and administrative services.
How To Apply
• Apply for the tender through a local co-production partner
• Local co-production partner signs a co-financing agreement with the Riga City Council
• Shoot in Riga or Latvia
• After the production is completed, local co-production partner submits a report
• Eligible expenditure is evaluated and verified
• Co-financing is allocated
Foreign production companies are advised to cooperate with the Latvian production companies to apply for different permits that might be necessary in Riga. The local companies already have experience and an established cooperation with various institutions, which in its turn will contribute to the efficiency and quality of the filming process.
It is advisable to indicate the preliminary needs: dates of the planned shooting, locations and times. Also, please note that in order to prepare, consultations should begin at least 15 days before the intended filming. Official submission for permit must be made no later than 10 days before the scheduled filming.