In 2016, “L’agence belge du court métrage” was founded in Brussels by filmmakers, producers and festival organisers. Its initiators, who manage the agency today, include Pascal Hologne and Anne-Françoise Reynders, who came from the Brussels Short Film Festival, the BE Film Festival and the FIFF Namur festival.
Compared to agencies founded at a far earlier date in other countries, this one has aspects specific to its own country, and it takes a somewhat different approach.
Due to Belgium’s bilingualism – the country has parallel administrative and support structures for its linguistic communities – this Belgian short film agency is a Francophone institution that is supported by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, among others. But because there is no Flemish short film agency as such – with the exception of similar activities undertaken by the Leuven Kort Film Festival – the agency is also committed to Flemish short film, even if to a lesser extent.
The services provided by the agency, which has its office in Ixelles, a municipality in the Brussels capital region, include the four working areas of film submissions and festival registrations, international sales, short film screenings and networking.
At present, the agency’s rental and distribution catalogue contains about 200 films. Filmmakers and producers who would like to enjoy the agency’s support have to become members. The membership fee amounts to €25 per year for single persons and to €80 per year for companies.
Members can register Belgian productions up to a length of 40 minutes for the agency’s rental or distribution catalogue. In its rental and distribution section, the agency receives the non-exclusive rights and retains 50% of the revenue from a film screening that it itself arranges and 20% of the revenue from bookings by third parties. The rental fees are graded on the basis of the film and programme lengths. In its sales section (TV, VoD), the agency takes 25% of the net revenue for a sale. The agency’s film catalogue is available online with information about each of its film titles.
“L’agence belge du court métrage” is also actively involved in the organisation of film screenings. For instance, a short film programme can be seen every third Sunday in the month in the Cinéma Aventure (see photo) in the centre of Brussels. Moreover, the agency rents programmes to culture centres, film clubs and film festivals.
When asked, Anne-Françoise Reynders said that the prospects for short films being screened as supporting films to main features in Belgian cinemas were so low, that the agency concentrates on compiling full-length programmes of shorts. These include curated programmes compiled on the basis of requests, or already existing theme-based programmes. The programmes currently available have titles such as “Polar”, “Tous à table”, “Les Court au feminin”, “Humour Belge” or “Im(Migrations)”. There is also the option for an event organiser to compile their own short film programme from the film catalogue. The rental fee comes to between €150 and €200 plus taxes, depending on the length.
One unique feature of this agency compared to those in other countries is its festival submission service. Members can avail of the services provided here on varying levels for the payment of a fee. These include the submission of films to festivals, the preparation of a submission strategy for a specific film, the exchange of contacts with festival programmers, the logistics related to the submissions (sending in the film prints and other materials), the checking of published information in the event that a film is accepted for a festival screening, as well as PR measures at preferential festivals and on the agency’s website.
The services on offer are charged on the basis of a graded points system. By way of example, the fee for the “Basic Offer”, consisting of 40 submissions to listed festivals, plus 10 submissions to festivals recommended specifically for the related film, plus 5 festival participation processing services, amounts to €550 in total. On the other end of the scale with the “Delux” option, four times the number of submissions are offered at a price of €1,800.
One reason why this is also attractive for filmmakers is that these costs are recognised by the official support programme for festival participations (L’aide à la promotion, €1,000 to €4,000) from the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles. Likewise, it should not be underestimated that this option provides filmmakers with an alternative to commercial submission platforms and festival agencies, and that the agency only submits films to “audited” festivals which fulfil the quality criteria.
Finally, “L’agence belge du court métrage” also regards itself as a representative body and lobby for the interests of its members, as indeed for the short film sector in general.
URL sales catalogue