3.4.4 Direct professional co-operation
Though in many cultural fields there is direct professional co-operation, in general the level of aspiration for international cooperation and travel is rather low. Individual artists, staff at smaller cultural organisations and many executive managers of cultural organisations do not speak a foreign language, thus they do not get involved in international networking, building partnerships and developing contacts. Also, the mobility of individuals is restricted because of the limited resources available (grants are small, often not covering the total travel costs; support is mainly available if an organisation applies for funding, not awarded directly to individuals). However, during the last decade a dozen non-governmental organisations have developed notable competence in international co-operation, being active in international networking, fundraising, collaboration and co-productions.
Lately, also, larger cultural organisations of national significance have got involved in international cultural co-operation thanks to resourceful staff and participation in European networks.
Baltic Films is a cooperation platform, that comprises the three film bodies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and it functions as an umbrella organisation promoting films from these countries internationally. Besides participating at the key film markets, Baltic Films awards a prize to the best Nordic film at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck. Baltic Films promotes the films in their member countries and cooperates in programming film days and festivals. One of the most successful initiatives is the Baltic Sea Documentary Forum held in Riga, Latvia. Baltic Sea Documentary Forum is a documentary project market and workshop bringing together documentary filmmakers, as well as commissioning editors and representatives of the film funds from throughout Europe. The Forum is accompanied by documentary film screenings. The Baltic Event introduces the region's film projects and feature production to international film and TV professionals. The Co-production market revolves around one-to-one meetings between project representatives and potential financiers.
In the field of cultural education there are two successful projects to mention on the level of Baltic cooperation - Baltic Film and Media School and Baltic Museology School.
The Baltic Film School opened at Tallinn University (Estonia) in 2006; its launch was supported by the ministries of culture of all three Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), and the Nordic Baltic Film Fund etc. The Baltic Film and Media School is an innovative educational centre for the audiovisual sector in the Baltic Region. In its admission policy, the school maintains approximately equal numbers of students from each of the Baltic States. The teaching, research and other academic activities are developed in three main directions – film arts, TV broadcasting, audio-visual media and communication management. The Baltic Film and Media School actively carries out projects and exchange programmes with universities, TV and film studios internationally as a way of involving academic and professional expertise.
Baltic Museology School (BMS) is organised in cooperation between the Ministries of Culture of all three Baltic countries, the State Authority of Museums of Latvia and ICOM – Europe (International Council of Museums). The BMS is a long-term Baltic States collaboration project for the lifelong education of museum professionals. Each year there is a week-long educational programme focusing on one aspect of museum work, and linking museum theory with practice. The aim of the school is to develop and strengthen museological thought in the Baltic States, by linking theory and practice, in order to become more professional, contemporary and accessible to society.
Numerous non-governmental organisations operating in the field of contemporary arts carry out international cooperation projects demonstrating outstanding managerial and conceptual capacities. Of particular note are The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (http://www.lcca.lv/), the New Theatre Institute of Latvia (http://www.theatre.lv/), the new media centre RIXC (http://www.rixc.lv/) and other initiatives. International festivals of different scale are important in the cultural life of Latvia. The international festival of contemporary theatre "Homo Novus" (http://www.homonovus.lv) is the most important festival in performing arts field. CÄ“sis Art Festival (http://www.cesufestivals.lv) is the largest contemporary art festival that takes place outside the capital Riga. Important music festivals are the New Music Festival "Arena" (http://www.arenafest.lv/), The Riga Opera Festival (http://www.opera.lv/en/riga-opera-festival/), The Festivity of Opera Music, and the Ancient Music festival (http://www.smf.lv), among others.
Projects supported by EU programmes are financially privileged as they can also receive state guaranteed co-financing. However, not many organisations are able to submit and receive support from EU programmes (e.g. the "Culture" programme supported 5 cultural projects in 2006, only 1 project in 2007, 2 projects in 2008; and in 2009, 6 projects were submitted by Latvian leader organisations). Gradually, competence in developing European level projects is increasing. In 2010, more than 10 projects submitted by Latvian cultural operators to the EU programme "Culture 2007-2013" received in total 60 665 LVL (86 664 EUR). Cultural organisations submit applications also to other EU programmes operating in Latvia (European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund etc.). See also chapter 3.4.2 and chapter 4.2.8.