15min.lt is reporting this week that a new Lithuanian Film Centre has been established (and coinciding with its participation at the Cannes International F...) to promote and regulate Lithuanian cinema. A national Film Centre modeled after established ones in neighboring EU countries, has been in the works since 2007 but until recently not much progress has been made.
The response, particularly from the film industry within Lithuania itself, is guarded more than enthusiastic. Filmmakers are concerned that they haven't been consulted in the establishment of the new Film Centre or that the Film Centre may potentially censor what film projects get funded.
Currently, the Film Centre does not have a chief yet, so this is all speculation at the moment. But the speculation reveals the pressing concern of the Lithuanian Film Industry: funding. Movies and documentaries are expensive ventures, and many Lithuanian films are co-produced with foreign production companies. Lithuania has also played host to a number of foreign productions, from TV series to documentaries to big budget films like the Daniel Craig-starring Defiance. But if the cost of production rises too high, those same production companies could simply look to other countries offering lower prices and better tax incentives.
Whoever becomes the Chief of the National Film Centre, they will have their work cut out for them putting to rest local filmmakers' fears of creative meddling, promoting homegrown films within the country, and keeping Lithuania an ideal investment for foreign production companies.