Lithuania is reaping the rewards of a competitive tax credit, while the pull of capital Vilnius is drawing in international filmmakers. The country — situated in northern Europe along the southeast shore of the Baltic Sea — hosted 13 foreign projects in 2022, with no less than seven landing from Scandinavian territories, two each from Sweden and Finland and three from Norway, along with two UK co-productions and two from Germany.
German science fiction project Paradise, a near-future thriller for Netflix produced by Neuesuper’s Simon Amberger, Korbinian Dufter and Rafael Parente and directed by Boris Kunz (Hindafing), shot in Vilnius. Ahil Films was the local partner with support from Vilnius Film Office.
“We can provide support and information about projects filming here, the tax incentive [worth up to 30%], locations, local services and more,” says Ruta Jekentaite, who heads Film In Lithuania, part of the Baltic Film & Creative Tech Cluster. “Producers and all local service providers will be able to communicate directly on the platform.”
“Vilnius has always been a production-friendly city and you can always trust that the process will run smoothly here,” says German line producer Stephan Barth. The film’s local supervising location manager Jonas Spokas, adds: “The German team has found many interesting and alternative angles of our city. Vilnius can have many faces. One of the scenes was shot in the Fabijoniskes district. A few years ago this neighbourhood was filmed as the Soviet Union in the 1980s, last year it became [present] day Malmo, and this time it will feature in a futuristic story.”
In Lasse Hallstrom’s Hilma, about artist Hilma af Klint, Vilnius doubled for Stockholm. The project was backed by Viaplay Studios. “The crew is so talented, skilled and experienced,” says Hallstrom. “We were recreating Stockholm of the late 1800s, and there was a lot of old town imagery that looked good for our purposes.”
“Everything in Vilnius is so nearby,” adds Hilma producer Helena Danielsson from Viaplay Studios. “Even if I stay in the old town, I can walk to locations.”
Other projects to shoot in Vilnius include season four of Netflix’s Stranger Things, season two of Young Wallander, which received $1.6m (€1.61m) from the rebate, and Camelot Films’ drama Prizefighter: The Life Of Jem Belcher, which relocated from Wales to Vilnius in summer 2021, doubling the city for 19th-century England and using mostly locals. Others include Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) series Max Anger, co-produced by UK outfit Twelve Town, which doubled Vilnius for Saint Petersburg and received $1.39m (€1.4m) from the incentive.
Vilnius Film Office works closely with filmmakers, helping to organise shoots in public spaces and institutions and issuing permits quickly. The capital is the key focal point for many of the productions that come to Lithuania. Its multifaceted history offers gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture, alongside a skilled industry workforce.
Vilnius Film Cluster and Nebula Cluster have merged to create the Baltic Film & Creative Tech Cluster, which works with and supports more than 80 local companies to provide production services, equipment rental and studio space, including a soundstage of 1,100 square metres and a 350 square metre greenscreen.
Kino Studija (colloquially referred to as Martynas Studio) is situated just outside Vilnius. It was used for HBO’s Chernobyl and is a viable studio space. Lithuania’s crew base is growing in size and experience, and there is a good level of basic equipment available, with further hardware easily sourced from neighbouring countries. Lithuania’s art and set construction departments are of a high standard and cost-effective.
Vilnius Film Office has worked closely with filmmakers, helping to organise shoots in public spaces and public institutions and issuing permits quickly. The capital city is the key focal point for many of the productions that come to Lithuania. Its multifaceted history offers gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture, alongside a highly skilled film-industry workforce.
Elsewhere, the country has an appealing variety of landscapes, from national parks with vast oak and pine forests, to fresh and salt waters and sand dunes. The western Neringa municipality is particularly stunning, with its rolling dunes and evergreen forests.
Lithuania is a small country with good road and rail links. There are direct flights to Vilnius from other European capitals.
First person to contact: Jurate Pazikaite, film commissioner, Vilnius Film OfficeL: email@example.com
Lithuania is a member of the European Union and a participant in the Schengen Agreement. Its currency is the euro.