The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) has unveiled a €2m ($2.2m) temporary aid fund, which aims to fire-up development of local productions during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.
The one-off aid scheme will be open to production slates consisting of three to five new projects that are in early stages of development. The fund will be open to applications from July 1 to September 2, 2020, with a cap of €250,000 per slate. A five-strong jury will review applications.
The initiative has been established to provide producers, writers and directors in the Belgian region with incentives to work on new projects from home. This is intended to accelerate project development ahead of productions re-starting once lockdown measures are lifted.
Slates of three projects must contain at least one involving a female screenwriter or director. Slates of four or five projects must include two projects with female filmmakers or writers. First-time directors and those with diverse backgrounds are also encouraged.
Features, documentaries, shorts, TV series and interactive projects all qualify for the fund.
In the wake of the virus crisis, VAF has aimed to help producers with cashflow, adjusting existing measures to speed up payments and increasing first instalments as well as an advance of 5% after approval of a project.
Belgium has been on lockdown since March 18 and reported 48,519 cases of coronavirus to date and 7,594 deaths. Such measures are set to be gradually relaxed from May 4 but working from home will continue to be encouraged.
The government has stepped in to help those impacted by the crisis, paying up to 70% of furloughed employees’ wages, which includes cinemas, distributors and production companies among others. The Flanders government has also set up a €200m emergency fund for culture, youth and sports, and VAF is in talks with the government about this fund. VAF’s €2m slate scheme is not sourced from this emergency aid.