Belgium’s diverse range of historical and contemporary locations is matched in variety by the collection of different financial incentives it offers international producers. In addition to the federal tax shelter, regional funding is also accessible throughout the country.
Although it does not have a big studio complex, Belgium has a booming post-production sector and local producers are experienced in setting up and servicing large international co-productions.
Films to have shot recently in Belgium include 20th Century Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky: The Coming Race, Michael R Roskam’s Racer And The Jailbird and Hurricane Films’ A Quiet Passion, directed by Terence Davies.
The Belgian tax shelter is long-established and open to Belgian productions as well as qualifying international (mainly European) co-productions with Belgium. The Belgian producer can sell tax shelter certificates to local investors based on the amount of direct and indirect qualifying audiovisual costs the production will spend in the European Economic Area and Belgium. The system allows the Belgian producer to finance up to 42% of eligible spend in Belgium. There are several different sources of regional financing in addition to the tax shelter: in Flanders, producers can access the Screen Flanders Economic Fund for an additional 15%-20%, up to a maximum of $276,800 (€400,000). Brussels has a fund called the Screen Brussels Fund and the Wallonia region has the Wallimage fund.
Full details of financial incentives in Belgium: Belgian Film Industry.
Infrastructure and crews
Thanks to the number of international productions to shoot in Belgium in recent years, crews are experienced and of a high standard. There is a strong post-production and VFX sector and plenty of rental companies providing the newest light and grip equipment. Staff tend to be highly qualified and fluent in several languages.
Belgium is a stone’s throw from key cities including London (two hours on the Eurostar), Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Cologne. More than 100 languages are spoken across Brussels.
Roy Boulter, producer, A Quiet Passion, says:
“Within 10 minutes we realised we had made the right decision. The crew was fantastic and getting the cast over to Belgium was so simple. There was no red tape. If you’re recognised in your profession, you can work for up to three months without any kind of visa. We chose to stay in Antwerp. The cast loved it, we loved it and it was a really enjoyable shoot. It led to Terence Davies’ famous pronouncement that he was happy for the first time in 40 years.”
Would he come back?
First person to call
Jan Roekens, head of production, Screen Flanders
Pierrette Baillot, film commission manager, Brussels Film Commission
Jean-Francois Tefnin, director of Clap!
Need to know
- DO try out AED Studios based in Lint, near Antwerp, if you are looking for studio space in Flanders. This facility has 16,500 sq m of studio space including the biggest indoor water studio in the Benelux, measuring 3,000 sq m with a 35mx25m pool.
- DO come to Brussels for the post-production and VR facilities. For special effects, try The Fridge or Nozon
- DO get a bike. Cyclists often seem to outnumber the drivers.
- DO enjoy the beer and the mussels… and the rain.
- DO realise when you are in Belgium, it can feel as if you are in two different countries. There are the Flemish in Flanders and the French-speaking Wallonians in Wallonia, and they both have their own cultural, business and political organisations.
- DO check out music opportunities. Flanders is a major player in the world of film music. Scoring Flanders — a partnership between Brussels Philharmonic, sound post-production house Galaxy Studios and Film Fest Gent — has worked on a range of major movies including Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, Oscar winner The Artist and on TV dramas such as Parade’s End and The White Queen.
- DO get in touch with tourism boards to get the best available hotel rates.