Netherlands Film Production Incentive

Incentive -

The Netherlands Film Production Incentive is a financial contribution – in the form of a cash rebate for demonstrable expenditure on qualifying Dutch production costs – for feature films, longform documentaries and animated projects aimed primarily for cinema release. The qualifying costs of high-end TV-series - drama, animated and documentary series – are also eligible for a cash rebate during the currency of a pilotscheme. An application can be made for international (co-)productions to obtain a cash rebate up to 35% for film productions and 30% for high-end TV-series on eligible production costs.

The mission of the Film Production Incentive is to promote and strengthen a healthy film production climate in the Netherlands and enlarging the international position of the Dutch film industry.

Status: Actueel

Who can apply?

An application can be filed by a production company based, for at least two years prior to the application, in the Netherlands or an EU-country or a state that is a party to the agreement in respect of the European Economic Area, or in Switzerland, and which is legally represented by a producer. The producer has, as majority producer, been responsible for the production of at least one film production over the past seven years, which has been theatrically released in the Netherlands.

This also applies in the case of an application for a series or single episode, with the condition that the representing producer has produced one film as mentioned above, or one high-end TV-series that has been distributed by Dutch broadcasters or on VoD platforms publicly accessible in the Netherlands. 

Which projects qualify?

  • Films with a budget of at least €600,000 for a feature film or long animated film and €250,000 for a long documentary.
  • The level of the qualifying costs is not less than €150,000.
  • At least 50% of the production budget must have been unconditionally and demonstrably promised by third parties at the time of application.

The detailed requirements for the applicant and the application are set out in the Netherlands Film Production Incentive Scheme.

Budget and contribution

Film productions:

  • up to €1.5 million per application
  • up to €3 million per year per applicant production company

High-end TV series: 

  • up to €1.5 million per application
  • up to €3 million per year per applicant production company

The contribution is a 30% cash rebate for demonstrably incurred qualifying Dutch production costs. A rate of 35% can be used for film productions if the applicant receives no other realisation contribution(s) regarded as Dutch state aid and/or in the case of an application for an international co-production for which a percentage of the digital production costs specified for each category is spent in the Netherlands.

The annual budget for 2021 is €19.25 million, excluding the budget for the high-end TV series pilot. The grant cap is published on the website. All the international co-productions are honoured first in each application round up to 70% of the budget.

Primary conditions

A distribution guarantee for theatrical release in the Netherlands, or in case of a minority co-production, a distribution guarantee for a non-theatrical release in the Netherlands, if a theatrical release in the country of origin is guaranteed. For high-end TV-series, a distribution guarantee by a Dutch broadcaster or VoD platform, publicly accessible in the Netherlands. 

At least 50% of the production budget should be in place upon application and only applications with a minimum of 75 out of 210 points based on the Points System are taken into consideration. 

More information about the conditions can be found below in the General Outline and in the Regulations for Netherlands Film Production Incentive Scheme.

General outline

FAQ

Can production shooting begin before financing is fully guaranteed?

You cannot start production until the financing, including the Film Incentive, is 100% guaranteed and set down in writing and the obligations referred to in the Fund’s decision have been fulfilled.

In the case of film productions for which all the financing apart from the Incentive contribution has been unconditionally promised and set down in writing at the time of application, the shooting may only start, at your own expense and risk, if the Incentive’s financing share has been guaranteed by a third party (not being the producer). If no Incentive contribution or a lower contribution ensues, this third party must plug the financing gap unconditionally.

Can I replace existing financing with financing from the Incentive?

In the case of film productions, such as minority co-productions, that are already fully financed and have started production, an application can be made to the Incentive as a replacement for existing financing (e.g. a tax arrangement from abroad). The Incentive will then be used to cover costs that have yet to be incurred, in most cases the qualifying post-production costs. 

Can I claim selective fund support and Film Production Incentive at the same time?

If both contributions are needed for financing the film production, you must first apply for the selective Fund contribution under the Sub-Regulation Realisation. For the Film Production Incentive assessment, and to prevent problems with financing and spending, it must be clear in advance whether or not there is any question of combined Film Fund contributions. You can apply for Film Production Incentive once the decision on a selective Fund contribution has been made. Click here for all the deadlines.

What has changed in the budget?

The main change is in the globals to be entered on tab 2 of the budget. As a result the budget automatically takes account of the digital production costs, the minute price (in the case of series) and the qualifying part of the contingencies.

Which costs count as digital production costs?

Digital production costs are the costs of the digital workflow, such as animation work, visual effects and video and audio post-production of a film. All the costs that qualify are flagged in the budget. The budget works out the percentage itself, see also Article 2.23 of the Financial and Production Protocol.

Can the contribution or the maximum percentage still be revised upwards following grant award?

Once awarded, a grant can only be set lower and never higher. This is a given in the grant award. It is therefore important for you as applicant to make a carefully considered choice before applying and also raise it at the preliminary interview. Since October 2017 a margin has been provided for unforeseen qualifying costs when granting the contribution. When determining the Incentive contribution this margin must be filled with concrete qualifying spending. Qualifying production costs are also included in the calculation of the contribution from the time of submission of a complete application file.

Can the Incentive contribution granted be reduced on determination?

As with any determination, the contribution can be adjusted downwards on completion of the film and final settlement. The contribution may even be withdrawn if the conditions and obligations are no longer met. It is therefore important for the planned spending to be converted into concrete and demonstrably qualifying production costs at final settlement and for the number of points on which the decision is made to be maintained.

If the exceptions for film productions (not TV series) for which a higher rate of 35% applies are claimed and it turns out on determination that they can no longer be claimed, the rate will be adjusted downwards.

What have been the results of the Film Production Incentive?

The aim of the Incentive is to promote production activity in the Netherlands and to strengthen the international competitive position of the Dutch film industry, while also creating space for the (further) development of talent and for innovation. In the period July 2014 to December 2020 the Incentive generated more than €583 million in production expenditure. Since October 2017 high-end TV series have been eligible for the scheme in addition to feature films, long documentaries and long animated films. Read the evaluation of the Incentive by Olsberg SPI here

In the first four application rounds for Film and TV series in 2020 a total of 48 film and 12 TV series applications were honoured, with a total contribution of 23.4 million euros, in total generating 89 million euros in spending for film productions in the Netherlands.

The monitor for 2020 will be published in March 2021.

Why is there a pilot for high-end TV series?

The production and distribution of high-end TV series with international appeal is booming worldwide, including Europe with series such as Peaky Blinders, Undone (with a contribution from the Film Production Incentive) and The Crown. The aim of the pilot is to encourage the Netherlands to take advantage of these international developments. On the one hand, by making possible the development and production of quality series with international appeal in this country, alongside the usual television series. On the other, by providing an incentive for (parts of) foreign quality series to be realised in co-production with the Netherlands. 

Schemes similar to the Film Incentive in other countries have long focused on both film productions and high-end TV series. Doing the same thing here is a response to the ever-growing interconnectedness between the film and television industries and gives extra impetus to production activity in the Netherlands and its international competitive position. 

The pilot focuses on ambitious drama, documentary and animated series with international appeal that stand out through their artistic, cinematographic quality and production values. This ambition must also be evident in the commitment of concerned partners. Just as with film productions, the aim of the incentive contribution is to add value to this ambition and not to take the place of existing financing. For this reason the scheme is based in part on a lower limit in production costs per minute. 

Can I apply if the series is still in development?

No, you can’t. With the successful launch of the pilot it is important to show that a high-end TV series does actually exist. This means that on submission of the application the scripts must be completely finalised and the director’s vision and the other creative details are ready for production. A detailed research report will be required for documentary series.

How long will the pilot for high-end TV series last?

The pilot for high-end TV series will in principle continue until the budget available for it runs out. The budget for the high-end TV series pilot will be provided from unused funds from previous years. Whether the pilot will be converted into a structural scheme will depend on our experience during this pilot period and whether any additional funds become available.

Can I apply for a follow-up series of a TV series?

Yes, you can. The scheme is not restricted to the first series only. For a first series the Fund will grant extra impact points through the points system. They will not apply to follow-up series. An application may be submitted for one series in each application round.

Are you eligible for the 35% rebate for high-end TV series too?

The exceptions made for films do not apply to the pilot for TV series. The fixed 30% rate applies here. 

Can you apply for part of a high-end TV series?

Yes, you can. You can submit an application for a single episode if the production costs are at least one million euros or part of the high-end TV series if the minimum number of minutes is satisfied (on the basis of the scripts already finalised).

How are the applications for high-end TV series that satisfy the conditions selected?

Just as with the applications for feature films, long documentaries and long animated films, applications for high-end TV series are classified on the basis of the points system, application by application. Then the international co-productions with a Dutch majority or minority share in the production are decided first, until 70% of the budget has been spent. Any budget left over from an application round is added to the budget of the following application round until the total budget for the pilot has been spent.

What is the maximum amount per applicant for high-end TV series?

An applicant can apply for a maximum of 3 million euros in Incentive contribution per year for high-end TV series. (An applicant can also apply for 3 million euros for film productions per year.)

Is the annual budget for film productions reduced by the pilot for high-end TV series?

No, there are still 19.25 million euros available each year for feature films, documentaries and long animated films. The budget for the high-end TV series pilot will be provided from unused funds from previous years.

Do you offer assistance in finding a Dutch co-producer?

Please contact the Netherlands Film Commissioner Bas van der Ree here, or check: www.filmcommission.nl. The Film Commissioner can give you different suggestions to help your project.

Deadlines

On the deadline date before 17:00 hrs.

If you are planning to submit an application, we recommend that you make an appointment to discuss your application before submitting it. Contact the project supervisor for your type of production at incentive@filmfonds:

Important: When both selective fund support and Film Incentive are needed to finance the project, you cannot submit your Film Incentive application until selective support has been decided. Click here for further information. 

To apply for grant

Applications for Film Incentive can only be submitted by a Dutch producer (click here)

Important: When both selective fund support and Film Incentive are needed for financing the project, you cannot submit your Film Incentive application until selective support has been decided. Click here for further information.

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