Lithuanian and French ministers of culture Šarūnas Birutis and Fleur Pellerin signed an agreement on film co-production in Paris to facilitate cooperation between Lithuanian and French filmmakers.
In 1999, Lithuania ratified the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production, which allowed the country to participate in the Eurimages fund which provides support for co-produced films. Although the Convention lays out basic requirements for co-production, a number of issues related to specific aspects of film production, funding, and distribution in different countries remain unresolved. Therefore parties of the convention sign bilateral agreements relevant to the particularities of film industries in the given countries.
Although this is the first bilateral agreement on film production for Lithuania, most of the national projects have been implemented in cooperation with producers from other countries.
Fifteen co-productions have been made with French partners so far. Without doubt, director Šarūnas Bartas has been the most prominent personality binding the two countries. The film The Summer of Sangaile by Alantė Kavaitė has received wide international recognition this year and won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Currently two more Lithuanian films are being made with French partners.
The agreement addresses the issue of granting the status of co-production and provides for the balance in supporting ideas of filmmakers from both countries. The agreement lays out that the films with the status of a co-production will be considered national in both countries and will be eligible for the support offered for such films.
The signing of this intergovernmental agreement is supposed to encourage filmmakers from both countries to implement their ideas collectively more often.
The implementation of the agreement has been entrusted to the Lithuanian Film Centre and the French National Centre of Cinematography (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée).
During his trip to France, the Lithuanian Minister of Culture Šarūnas Birutis also visited the Cinémathèque Française. He met film archive’s director Serge Toubiana to discuss the initiative of holding a presentation of Lithuanian cinematography in this important film institution.