In a move designed to ensure that maverick filmmakers do not slip through the net, Brussels-based VAF (The Flanders AudioVisual Fund) is setting up a new fund targeting new talent. The Filmlab, as the new scheme is called, will invest $1.17m (Euros 800,000) in supporting adventurous new film projects. This will include seed money for expensive projects as well as funding for lower-budget films.

March 2008 is the first deadline for submissions to the Filmlab.

'No guts, no glory' is the slogan being touted for the new scheme, which will support adventurous and experimental work,

In recent years, the VAF has sometimes failed to back strong new voices with idiosyncratic visions. For example, it initially failed to finance Koen Mortier's irreverent and controversial Ex Drummer, a film which competed in Rotterdam and has now been sold widely in the international marketplace.

'We want to give a chance to people who are ready to take artistic risks,' said The VAF's director, Pierre Drouot.

Meanwhile, details have been announced recently of an initaitive bound to lift the spirits of Flanders' documentary makers, The new initiative, on which the VAF will partner with commercial broadcaster VTM, will run along similar lines to the already existing Faits Divers scheme for dramatic features.

The only condition for docs applying for funding is that the films have to be shot in Belgium.

This is the first time that a Flemish commercial broadcaster has agreed to invest in documentary. The projects selected will receive $132,090 (Euros 90,000). Around half a dozen docs a year are likely to be financed through the scheme, although as many as eight may receive funding.

The Government in Flanders recently upped the VAF's budget for documentary from $1.46m (Euros 1m) a year to $2.56m (Euros 1.75m).

VTM is understood to have supported the new initiative because of its desire to support films enhancing its Flemish identity.

The Faits Divers fiction scheme between the VAF and VTM has already backed such successful low budget movies as Long Weekend, Love Belongs To Everyone and Hell In Tangier. The aim now is to emulate that success in the documentary arena.

'We all are convinced that there are a lot of interesting stories in Flanders to be told in a documentary form,' said Hans Everaert, financial director at the VAF. The first round of applications are due in by the end of February.