Covid-19 support measures for the Dutch film sector – August 2021

Throughout 2020 and 2021, thanks to COVID-19 support packages made available by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Film Fund could partly address the short-term and medium-term effects on the film sector. To this extend a range of support measures was designed and implemented to re-start productions and offer support through different schemes ranging from development, production to the exhibition of films.

With the introduction of the Film Production & High End Series Support Fund, that offers financial assistance to Covid-affected productions and Dutch film professionals, Spring 2020 time came to recommence production activity. With additional subsidies made to film productions and high-end series to cover the additional costs, re-commencement of activity within the framework of the COVID-19 Protocol AV Sector became possible. The COVID-19 Protocol, a Pandemic guarantee scheme was introduced, as well as one-off schemes like Film Fast Forward and Heads of Department as well as Lockdown Cinema.

Now, in August 2021 the following additional support is available:

Film Fast & Furious: First Gear (Development)

This research & development scheme is aimed at beginning screenwriters and directors (whether or not in collaboration with a beginning producer or head(s) of department) with idiosyncratic, ambitious and original ideas. It exclusively concerns filmmakers who graduated in 2019, 2020 or 2021 with a bachelor or master degree from a film or art academy in the Netherlands. The contribution must be spent on the research and initial development phase of a film idea for an original and independent short fiction film, short documentary, short animation, short experimental film or short hybrid film production with a length of at least 5 and maximum 60 minutes.

Cypher Cinema (Development)

With Cypher Cinema, the Film Fund wants to put an underexposed group of filmmakers in the spotlight: self-taught filmmakers. So if you are self-taught, self-made or have no Higher vocational education as a filmmaker, but you do make films, commercials or music videos as a director, scriptwriter or as a collective, an application to Cypher Cinema is a good first introduction to the Film Fund. To further contribute to an inclusive and diverse film sector, the Fund specifically calls on creators from all Dutch regions and overseas to apply. In addition to the open call, scouts in the regions will be actively looking for exceptional makers to apply to.

Lock Doc Development

For the development of existing and new documentary film plans for short or long documentaries, of which the progress has been disrupted by COVID-19, but which artistically and production-wise can still be revised or developed further. In addition, based on the need for renewal, a new plan for script development for a new, long documentary with international ambition and cinema potential must be submitted.

Film Fast & Furious (Development)

This R&D scheme is aimed directly at screenwriters and directors - whether or not in collaboration with heads of department - from whom idiosyncratic, ambitious and original stories originate. The contribution must be spent on the research and first development phase of a film idea to be further developed for an original feature film, animated film, feature documentary, short film, hybrid production or high-end drama series (i.e. not a remake, sequel, book adaptation, etc.) that has not previously been submitted to the Fund.

The Short Imagination (De Korte Verbeelding -Realization)

Offers visual artists the possibility to realize a short artistic film, independently or together with a film producer. The goal is to stimulate films that are primarily rooted in the visual power of the medium, films that explore the boundaries between art and film and that have the artistic potential to be selected by (inter)national film festivals, galleries and museums (non-exclusively) or online platforms.

Music Mayday (Realization)

Filmmakers are invited to depict musicality in all its forms and manifestations in a special, one-off scheme. It aims at film productions in which the expressive power of poetry of music serves as a starting point, from both experienced and beginning filmmakers. You can apply for your project as a (long or short) documentary or fiction film, animated or hybrid. In addition, the scheme also offers the possibility to realize youth and family film plans.

Pandemic guarantee scheme 2021 (Realization)

Pending a nationwide assessment of pandemic risk, a guarantee from the Fund and a contribution from the sector will be provided into a collective fund or guarantee scheme to cover costs arising from any Covid-related damage during production. This applies to all majority Dutch productions that were supported by the Fund, that have contributed to the guarantee scheme and for which production commenced in 2020 or 2021.

Support measure Production (Realization)

The additional costs of productions supported by the Fund in the realization can to a large extent be absorbed, and the working conditions on the film set can be supervised as optimally as possible, within the framework of the COVID-19 Protocol AV Sector. Depending on the production and the phase it is in, the additional costs in the (pre-/post-) production will vary widely.

Support measures VAF and the Netherlands Film Fund

The Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF) and the Film Fund are taking joint measures to support the film sector in response to the tightened measures in the fight against the new coronavirus. From the permanent cooperation with the VAF, both funds participate annually in feature films, long animated films and documentaries, which are realized in co-production and released in both countries. This joint arrangement will be partially modified. In the case of co-productions in which both the VAF and the Film Fund participate, the mutual obligation to spend the selective fund contributions is temporarily dropped. The VAF will also take a number of additional measures, just like the Film Fund.

Accelerated procedure for the use of revolving funds

As part of the support measures introduced by the Fund in addition to the generic measures of the Dutch Government, we are applying an accelerated procedure for drawing on contributions repaid to the Fund from operating revenues, the so-called revolving funds. Especially at this difficult time for the entire sector, it is crucial that producers and all other film professionals can build on mutual agreements and that the revolving funds can be used quickly.

Full Circle Exhibition Scheme (Exhibition)

With the reopening of cinemas, a diverse offering of Dutch films in cinemas and film theaters is central to this new support measure that was created in collaboration with the NVBF. In order to increase the visibility of Dutch talent and their films in all genres on the big screen, the movie theaters and cinemas based in the Netherlands can qualify for a contribution of up to €1 per paying theater-goer in the calendar year 2021 for the screening of a Dutch feature film, animated film or documentary (major film productions) that was made with a regular realization and/or Incentive contribution of the Film Fund.

Full Circle Distribution Scheme

To increase the visibility of Dutch talent and their films on the big screen and to support the film chain as a whole, from 2021 the support measures with an increased basic and matching contribution for distribution will be extended. Dutch feature films, long animated films and documentaries (majority Dutch film productions) that were created with a regular realization and/or Incentive contribution from the Film Fund can be eligible for a support contribution for distribution.

More lenient subsidy conditions and more generous advance payments

For films already subsidized by the Fund and film activities that are currently being implemented, the Fund loosened the subsidy conditions and obligations. For example, more lenience for film productions with regard to delivery and screening. This gives applicants the opportunity to adjust the production planning or reschedule delivery and release without affecting the grant. For long-term and project-based film festivals and film activities, there is room for later submission of annual accounts, the use of own reserves and the non-recovery of the subsidy, if the current activities cannot take place as a result of COVID-19. In order to absorb the already incurred costs of crew and cast members, film companies and investments in the production where possible, an extension of the advance payment by bringing forward all or part of the existing grant periods is possible. 

A full overview of all schemes and their criteria and details in Dutch language can be found here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions: info@filmfund.nl.