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Film production in Flanders

True movie buffs will acknowledge that Flanders’ movie industry is vastly underrated. Not only has the region sprouted first-class actors like Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Pas and critically-acclaimed films like Bullhead, it is also one of Europe’s most popular shooting destinations and co-production partners. One of the main reasons is undoubtedly Belgium’s tax shelter. 

The landscape of Flanders is characterized by a high level of diversity within a relatively small area: in a mere matter of hours, you can take a road trip from the coastline to several art cities and into the forests of the Limburg Province. Complement this with a highly competent and multilingual technical staff and it’s not hard to see why every year, hundreds of production projects large and small are shot here.

Financing film production in Flanders

Making a movie is a risky undertaking that requires significant investment. To alleviate the financial burden for producers and investors, the Federal Government of Belgium and the Government of Flanders have put in place several measures, the most famous of which is the tax shelter.

Tax shelter

Since 2004, companies investing in film production in Belgium – and Flanders as a region – benefit from a significant tax deduction. Both a cultural and an economic measure, the tax shelter’s incentive comes in the form of a reduction of taxable profits. It is open to Belgian productions as well as international co-productions with Belgium-based companies. Highlighting the measure’s success: between 2004 and 2016, there has been more than EUR 1.5 billion worth of tax shelter investments.

  • How does it work?

    Put simply, the tax shelter offers a tax exemption of 310% on the sum that an organization invested in Belgian audiovisual work. There are some conditions, such as the fact that the investment cannot exceed 50% of the filming budget.

  • Who can benefit from the tax shelter?

    Flanders’ tax shelter benefits both the producer and the investor. The first is offered a very attractive way to finance their projects, and the second obtains significant tax exemption through a virtually risk-free investment. The region of Flanders and the Belgian state, for their part, enjoy increased economic activity and employment.

  • Works that qualify for the tax shelter include:

    • European audiovisual works, including fiction, documentary and animated films or series intended for television, web series, and virtual reality productions.

    • International productions, such as fiction films, documentaries, animated films or virtual reality productions intended for cinema. 

The Flanders Audiovisual fund (VAF) and Screen Flanders

In addition to the tax shelter, qualifying international co-productions that are part of a bilateral coproduction agreement can also count on support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF). This is the cultural public funding body of Flanders. Via its specialized VAF/Film Fund, it co-finances the production of (foreign) feature, medium-length and short films.
Learn more about the VAF/Film Fund.

Audiovisual productions that spend (part of) their budget can get financial support via the regional economic fund Screen Flanders, which is also the central film commission for the region of Flanders. Fiction, documentary or animation films of at least 60 minutes are all eligible for support of up to EUR 400,000. Screen Flanders has a predetermined support envelope and periodic calls are made.
Discover when and how to apply for a Screen Flanders fund.

Cover up to 66% of eligible audiovisual spend in Flanders

By combining the abovementioned mechanisms – the Belgian tax shelter, the Screen Flanders regional fund, and VAF – producers can finance up to two thirds of their Belgian expenses.

After an exhaustive search, the production team found the right location for Miss Peregrine’s home near Antwerp. Torenhof Castle was used for exterior shots and for scenes in the dining room, parlor, and kitchen.