Brussels, 23 January 2018: Thanks to the combined efforts of the various screen.brussels’ departments, the audiovisual sector now has access to a support structure that is coherent, collaborative and suited to its every need. Designed to support this innovative sector and convey its image, screen.brussels has achieved good results and now presents its balance sheet for last year.
In order to establish Brussels as an audiovisual hub, two years ago the Brussels Region developed a support strategy for a sector that has suffered from underinvestment for years. And this strategy has paid off, since in 2017, screen.brussels supported over 100 companies in their development and internationalisation, invested up to €3m in 31 projects (films, series, documentaries, etc.) that generated €26m in expenditures, provided assistance with the organisation of 239 shoots and financed three companies to the tune of €236,000.
“These results for the combined activities of screen.brussels’ different services show the usefulness of having a single support contact for the sector, both for Belgium and internationally. The aim was to unify all the regional services involved in the audiovisual industry’s development and to join forces for greater efficiency. The 2017 balance sheet proves that we are using a strategy that matches the sector’s needs”, explains Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region.
In addition to the results for each of the services offered by screen.brussels (see appendix) – project assistance, support and funding of companies and hosting shoots - a whole series of joint projects were carried out, starting with a new website, www.screen.brussels, which will include a directory of professionals in the Brussels Region, the principal aim being to facilitate the match between supply and demand. The site also offers a search engine and a database of filming locations and settings, as well as a full list of the audiovisual projects supported by screen.brussels.
Joint projects with structuring effects
In 2017, screen.brussels also jointly supported almost 70 projects designed to help structure the audiovisual sector, including 34 workshops, meetings and conferences (focusing on television series, new forms of broadcasting and innovative technology, virtual reality, gaming, etc.), the Boost Camp (a programme aimed at accelerating the development of film projects initiated by women), training in professions with skills shortages (e.g. special effects experts) and production support for more environmentally-friendly and sustainable shoots.
“This re-centring of audiovisual economic activity on Brussels is clearly favourable to creating new jobs, particularly ones involving specific skills, since the projects being attracted are generating major workloads in animation and special effects. That’s why we’re also developing VFX (visual effects) training courses with companies from the sector, aimed at jobseekers with graphic design skills”, explains Didier Gosuin, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Economy and Employment. “This is only one example, as the same needs and promises of employment have been reported for professions like production administrator and data processing expert”, Gosuin adds.
From Brussels and beyond
“It’s not just projects that cross borders, but also people, which is why the Region is supporting many audiovisual sector entrepreneurs in their international development. Special attention is also being paid to strategies that attract foreign investors to Brussels, particularly as part of the Mediapark project,” reveals Cécile Jodogne, State Secretary in charge of Foreign Trade. The activities of screen.brussels also extend to joint participation in major events on the international audiovisual calendar, co-production forums, markets and festivals focusing on cinema, animation, series, documentaries, virtual reality and new innovative formats. For instance, Brussels’ strong presence at the Venice International Film Festival, where three films had their global premières (Racer and the Jailbird, Above the Law and Hannah).
Some success stories
Neon Rouge Production
In 2017, screen.brussels supported the development of this film and documentary production company with personalised advice and recruitment assistance from the screen.brussels cluster. Dynamic producer Aurélien Bodinaux is also part of the artistic team from The Mercy of the Jungle, a film by Joel Karekezi supported by the screen.brussels fund. This participation in a work of fiction that immerses us in the twists and turns of African conflicts (Kivu in Congo and Rwanda) underlines once more how screen.brussels also supports projects that are ambitious and structuring for the sector in terms of expenditures and employment, whether or not they include filming in the region. For its creation, Neon Rouge Production was also supported by investments from finance.brussels (now screen.brussels business).
A shining example of regional support for the development of companies within the audiovisual sector, Avolon is an innovative lighting product (used for films, television, advertising, etc.) that’s both highly effective and energy-efficient. Bruno Verstraete, electrical engineer and patent entrepreneur, has recently managed to get some major productions on board (The Voice, Top Chef, etc.) while at the same time developing more environmentally-friendly products. He has also benefited from €95,000 in aid from screen.brussels business and from the backing of the screen.brussels cluster for Avolon’s presence on national and international markets.
The boom in virtual reality, an innovative sector if ever there was one, is a priority for regional development. The recent expansion of the Tax Shelter to include VR works also bodes well for the future, a development the screen.brussels cluster has long since anticipated. Specialising in the creation of sound for virtual reality, Demute has been able to gain a foothold on international markets (Cannes, Laval, etc.) with the support of the screen.brussels cluster, as well as benefiting from networking with the international productions that it has consequently been able to attract to Brussels.
Contact: François Fripiat. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- film commission