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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Belgium

2020 saw screen.brussels intensify support for Brussels’ audiovisual sector

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- Brussels’ Regional Investment Fund was forced to introduce special measures last year in order to lend support to an industry that had been heavily impacted by the crisis

2020 saw screen.brussels intensify support for Brussels’ audiovisual sector
On the set of Inexorable by Fabrice du Welz, one of the films supported by screen.brussels (© Aurore Engelen)

screen.brussels looks back over the ways in which the fund was forced to adapt its resources and activities in 2020 in order to contend with the pandemic and to try to mitigate its impact on Brussels’ audiovisual sector professionals.

Whilst current energies are focused on reflection and future planning, especially as regards the current release window system in Belgium and France, the Fund has been working to support the sector since spring of last year, both listening to the industry and "beefing up" its aid.

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As of the end of July, the Brussels Capital Region government committed an additional one million euros to the Fund to ensure productions resumed as swiftly as possible. €500,000 of this sum was invested in twenty or so projects which had already been selected in 2019 and 2020 but were still under production and had therefore been heavily impacted by the crisis, while the remaining €500,000 allowed the fund to select a greater number of films, documentaries, animations, series and web series during its September session.

Specific support for businesses, entrepreneurs and independents was introduced in the form of aid to help mitigate the effects of the crisis, to allow for reflection on new business models and to generate innovative solutions for the restructuring of activities, content and services.

It is clear that industry practices were forced to change to some extent, or at the very least bounce back, and screen.brussels was quick to take a position in this respect, facilitating the resumption of film shoots from a logistical perspective by producing over a thousand masks from April onwards, and by joining forces with Wallimage to co-finance a programme urgently training and ultimately producing around 90 Covid compliance officers to work on film sets.

The figures in terms of film shoots, moreover, are more than encouraging, given that across the whole year 2020, the number of days spent filming - 1065 – is still at the high end of average compared to the ten previous years. Cameras might have proved a rare sight on the streets of Brussels between March and June as a result of the crisis, but the 290 projects supported this year testify to intense activity.

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(Translated from French)

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