Who can apply?

Belgium-based independent producers can apply to receive up to 400,000 EURO of refundable advances as an economic support to cover their audiovisual expenses in the Flanders Region. Foreign producers must work with a Belgian co-producer that meets all the fund’s conditions.

Type of projects?

Fiction features with a minimum length of 60 minutes can apply for support. Documentary and animated features (min. 60 min.) and series consisting of at least three episodes may also apply for support.

Fiction series spread over multiple episodes are only eligible if the episodes tell an on-going story and involve an international co-production in which the total Belgian share in terms of financing and earnings stated in the co-production contract is less than 50%.

Eligibility

To qualify for support, an audiovisual work must satisfy the following conditions:

  • At least 50% of the financing of the overall production budget is secured at the time of application;
  • A minimum of 250,000 EURO (VAT excluded) on eligible costs in the Flanders Region are incurred in its production;
  • The project is submitted before the first day of principal photography/animation;
  • It was submitted no more than once previously and received no support when last submitted;
  • The project enriches the cultural heritage of Flanders and satisfies at least three (in the case of animation) or four (fiction and documentary) of the following cultural criteria, also known as the cultural test:
    • the script is mostly set in Flanders, in Belgium, in another member state of the European Economic Area or in a member state of the European Free Trade Association
    • the director or scriptwriter resides in Flanders, in Belgium, in another member state of the European Economic Area or in a member state of the European Free Trade Association
    • one of the lead actors or three of the supporting actors have a link with Belgian culture
    • at least one of the leading characters has an association with Belgian culture
    • the original script is mostly written in, and the leading characters express themselves in, one of the official languages or regional dialects of Belgium
    • the script is an adaptation of an original literary work or inspired by another creation known for its cultural interest
    • the audiovisual work has art or artists as its main theme
    • the audiovisual work is mostly about historical figures or events
    • the audiovisual work generally addresses social themes relevant to Belgium or another member state of the European Economic Area or European Free Trade Association, and has a topical, cultural, social or political aspect
    • the audiovisual work helps bring about a reassessment of Belgian or European audiovisual heritage
  • The maximum percentages for total state support are respected.
    The total state support shall amount to no more than 50% of the total production budget for the project. This percentage rises to 60% for co-productions that receive funding from more than one member state of the EU and that involve producers from more than one member state, and to 75% if it concerns a difficult production.

According to European regulations, Screen Flanders may not grant support to a company which, based on certain accounting parameters, can be considered to be in financial difficulty. The definition of an ‘Undertaking in Difficulty’ (UID) can be found in Article 2, point 18 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).

As a result of the Decree of the Flemish Government of 26 February 2021, starting from 2022, the situation of your company at the time of submission will be decisive. From then on, it will no longer be possible to make any adjustments between the submission of a file and the assessment by the jury.

We therefor advise applicants to make use of the online VLAIO calculation module (in Dutch) to check their company against the UID parameters. The company size must first be determined according to the European SME definition (in Dutch). Please note that the group structure is also important here, as the check also needs to be made on group level. The filled out module needs to be added to the Screen Flanders application (as part of attachment 13) as proof that the UID check has been made.

The UID check is always based on the figures from the last annual accounts filed. If there has been a regularization in the course of a current year, this capital operation can be documented in a notarial deed and the deed can be added to the application file together with the interim financial statements, certified as true and genuine by a bookkeeper/accountant or company auditor.

Qualifying expenditure

Only certain types of expenditure are eligible when it comes to assessing how much support a project might be awarded.

These expenses:

  • must be invoiced by a VAT-paying company that has its operating headquarters in the Flanders Region;
  • must be made with the aim of completing the audiovisual work in question;
  • and must benefit the structure of the Flemish audiovisual industry.

Expenditure qualifying for support is exclusive of VAT and may not have been invoiced for at the time of application. It must be realistic and in line with market rates.

Refundable investment

Every euro invested in a production by Screen Flanders must yield at least one euro of audiovisual expenditure in the region. As Screen Flanders is a competitive and selective mechanism higher economic leverages are presented in applications, resulting in the financing of about 15% of the eligible costs in the Flanders Region. The maximum support amount awarded to a project by Screen Flanders is 400,000 euros.

The support is awarded in the form of refundable advances on net receipts. From these net receipts, a percentage needs to be repaid corresponding to the proportion of total support awarded by Screen Flanders in the overall financing of the audiovisual work. The Fund is entitled to this percentage even if the advance has been repaid.

Selective system

Applications can only be submitted in response to a call. Screen Flanders has two calls a year with deadlines in March and September. Each call has a specific budget.

Applications are presented to a jury consisting of both economic and cultural experts who assess and prioritise all projects based on qualitative and quantitative criteria.

These criteria focus mainly on the economic potential of the project and the impact of the production on the Flemish audiovisual industry. Available funding is then allocated to the highest-ranking applications in descending order until the allocation is exhausted.

Payments

The support is awarded intuitu personae and cannot be transferred to another beneficiary without the agency's written approval.

The support is paid in three instalments according to the following schedule.

  • A first instalment of 40% is payable once the applicant demonstrates that at least 80% of the total funding and at least 50% of the Belgian Federal Tax Shelter investment have been definitively acquired.
  • A second instalment of 30% is payable once the applicant demonstrates that the production has started, by means of a call sheet on the first day of shooting (fiction and documentary) or a report of the first day's animation (animation).
  • A third instalment of 30% is payable once the eligible expenses have been paid in full.

Requests for instalments must be made within 12 months of the end of the spending period.

Questions? Get in touch!
Katrien Maes
Head of Production
Screen Flanders
+32 2 226 06 38 kmaes@vaf.be