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Brussels remains popular with film crews despite pandemic

Hanne Verbruggen of K3, Marthe of K3 an unidentified woman and Klaasje of K3 pictured wearing a mouth mask during a visit to the set of Studio 100's new K3 movie 'Dans van de Farao' at the Royal Museum for Arts and History, in Brussels, Tuesday 11 August 2020. (BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR
10:02 27/01/2021

Despite restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Brussels remained an attractive location for filmmakers during 2020 with the screen.brussels film commission reporting that 290 projects went ahead in the capital last year, clocking up 1,065 days of filming in total between them. This amount of filming hours is in the higher region compared to the average over the last 10 years.

"The crisis meant that it was rare to see cameras on the streets of Brussels between March and June, but the 290 projects that followed during the rest of the year meant we recorded strong activity," screen.brussels said in a statement which accompanied the release of its annual report.

One positive consequence of the restrictions linked to the pandemic was that the productions were mainly Belgian with an increased number of fiction projects putting the Brussels region in the frame.

Created in 2016, screen.brussels brings together services to support the audiovisual sector, such as helping with access to funding, providing permits and offering logistical support. It also helps media companies to grow through its structural financing packages which are back by the local authorities.

Despite the positive news, screen.brussels revealed that the audiovisual sector in Brussels, like many others, had been hit hard by the pandemic.

At the end of July, the Brussels government had to provide the screen.brussels fund with an additional €1 million to relaunch productions as soon as possible, to put professionals back to work and to help fill the order book of companies in the sector.

Some €500,000 was invested in 20 projects already selected in 2019 and 2020 but were still in production when the pandemic hit and therefore were heavily affected by the crisis when work had to stop. The remaining €500,000 was used to commission more films, documentaries, animations, series and web series during the September acquisition period.

Written by Nick Amies