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When a group of Lithuanian and Polish film producers set out to sail from one Baltic seaport to another in September, it was not simply a nautical jaunt. The two-day voyage, aboard the 120-foot-long twin-mast schooner Brabander, brought together a dozen film professionals with a raft of potential joint projects to discuss.
The voyage from Klaipeda in Lithuania to Gdynia in Poland, the brainchild of Liana Ruokyte-Jonsson, head of film promotion, information and heritage at the Lithuanian Film Center, was designed to focus attention on a small filmmaking nation that is competing with others in Eastern Europe to attract international co-productions.
Where once Hollywood and international producers could pick low-cost territories to shoot in the region based on currency value, location and crew availability, the expansion of the European Union, economic growth and globalization have now combined to create a more level playing field.
Attempts to gain an advantage by introducing tax incentives prompted a race to offer 20 percent to 30 percent cash or tax rebates that rapidly produced near-identical offers. Even tiny Estonia, with a population of about 1.3 million, offers rebates worth up to 30 percent.
Now the rivals are emphasizing their unique attractions — as well as financial incentives — as outlined here:
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