EXCLUSIVE: The North Star Film Alliance (NSFA), an organization set up by Finland, Estonia and Latvia to promote the countries’ film production opportunities, is opening an office in Japan in a bid to foster connections between the regions.
There has been growing cooperation between the Japanese film biz and NSFA countries, following the 2017 Latvian-Japanese co-production Magic Kimono, currently streaming on Netflix, which was helmed by Latvian director Maris Martinsons and featured a primarily Japanese cast. Last year, Japanese director Kôjirô Hashimoto chose to shoot his feature Snow Flower in Finland, tapping into the cash rebate.
The office will be administered by Tokyo-based AX-ON, a member of the Nippon group, which is well known for international production services. It will host informational presentations at small-scale location industry events to communicate the production possibilities, locations, and various incentives the three countries offer.
The Baltic region has been growing in prominence as a location for international film and TV production following high-profile shoots including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which filmed scenes in Estonia.
Tech-savvy nation Estonia offers a cash rebate of up to 30% and is continuing to grow studio space. Latvia has a large studio complex with three sound stages, offering 40-50% rebate on feature projects. Finland provides a 25% rebate which can also be applied in part for projects using post-production services in the country.
The NSFA is run by The Estonian Film Institute, the City of Helsinki and Riga City Council, with support from EU Interreg Central Baltic program.