HBF General

What is the Hubert Bals Fund?

The Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam is designed to help remarkable or urgent feature films by innovative and talented filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe on their road to completion. It provides grants that often turn out to play a crucial role in enabling these filmmakers to realise their projects. Read more in our profile.

When can I apply?

For upcoming deadlines please see here.

Who can apply to the Hubert Bals Fund?

For Script and Project Development: filmmakers from countries listed on the HBF list of eligible countries are eligible for HBF support. The director, writer, and main producer of eligible projects should live and work in one of these countries. The HBF also provides support to feature films by filmmakers from eligible countries, who are living in diaspora (e.g. dual nationality, refugee status or residency permit) in a non-eligible country. Please note that priority is given to films that are majority shot in an eligible country.   

For the HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production support: the applicant should be a production company that is constituted and active for at least two years in a country participating in the MEDIA Sub-programme and owned - directly or by majority participation - by nationals from such countries. The track record of the applicant should demonstrate a (majority or minority) participation in at least two completed feature films, including one international or European co-produced feature film. 

For NFF+HBF, the collaborative programme of the HBF and the Netherlands Film Fund, the applicant should be a Dutch producer who fits the eligibility criteria of the Netherlands Film Fund.

Which documents form the basis of the HBF list of eligible countries?

The HBF list of eligible countries is roughly based on the DAC-list of the OECD and the World Free Press Index' two low ranking categories: red and black. 

The DAC-list 
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has a committee that deals with development co-operation matters. The name of this committee is Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and every three year this committee revises their so-called DAC-list. The DAC-list of ODA Recipients shows developing countries and territories eligible for receiving Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The World Free Press Index
The World Free Press Index is an annual ranking of countries ordered by the amount of freedom that journalists, news organisations and citizens enjoy in each country. The list is compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders, and is based on their research and assessment. We have included certain countries ranking low on the HBF list of eligible countries. Reporters Without Borders is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. The organisation has consultant status at the United Nations.

Can I apply with a short film project?

No. The Hubert Bals Fund is designed to support feature length fiction films. Only films over 60 minutes in length are eligible for support.

Can I submit a documentary project?

The main focus of the fund is the support of narrative feature films. Shorts and films made for television will not be taken in consideration. Documentary projects are advised to apply to the IDFA Bertha Fund of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam.

In some specific cases, the Hubert Bals Fund has supported creative documentary films. These projects always had a strong cinematic approach and were usually hybrid films with both fiction and documentary elements or had a more experimental approach. Projects that fit this description can be submitted to the HBF. 

What is the postal address of the Hubert Bals Fund?

These are our address details:

By regular (air) mail:
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Attn. Hubert Bals Fund
P.O.Box 21696
3001 AR Rotterdam

By express courier:
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Attn. Hubert Bals Fund
Karel Doormanstraat 278 B
3012 GP Rotterdam
(please mark: 'no value' or 'value 10 US$')

Why do I receive an automatic reply in response to my email?

Annually, close to 800 applications are submitted to the Hubert Bals Fund. The fund is run by a small team. Given the vast amount of inquiries that we receive during the selection rounds, we can unfortunately not respond to all questions directly. On this Frequently Asked Questions page you can find answers to most of the questions we receive. 

Which other funds do you recommend?


For an extensive overview of other funding possibilities worldwide, we recommend Olffi, a database on all public funding programs and production incentives for film, TV, new media.

Who selects the projects?

A selection committee consisting of film industry professionals from the Netherlands and abroad, including IFFR programmers and CineMart staff. All committee members have extensive experience in the assessment of applications and films and often bring specific regional expertise to the committee. Over the course of several meetings a final selection is made.

For the HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production support, the committee assessing the projects consists of members from Europe and outside Europe, each with a distinct and relevant expertise and experience within the film industry.

For NFF+HBF the collaborative programme with the Netherlands Film Fund, the selection committee consists of several staff members from the Netherlands Film Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund.

When and how do I hear any results?

Script and Project Development
Phase 1: Within 1 month after the application deadline.
Phase 2: Approximately 3 months after the application deadline.

HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production Support
Approximately 3 months after the application deadline.

Approximately 6 weeks after the application deadline.

In which language should I apply?

Application materials (and subtitles) should be written in English.

Can I submit my project in multiple categories?

Yes, you may submit the same project in different categories.

Can I re-submit my project in the same category?

For Script and Project Development support: No. Due to the amount of applications the fund receives in this category, it is not possible to submit the same project twice. Projects can only be resubmitted upon invitation by the HBF.

For HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production support: Yes, if a project has been rejected in a previous round, it can be submitted for a second time in a following round. 

For NFF+HBF:  Yes, if a project has been rejected in a previous round, it can be submitted for a second time in a following round. 

Can I submit more than one project for a selection round?

Yes. However, please be aware that it is unlikely that more than one project by the same director or producer will be selected in the same selection round. We advise you to submit the project that has the most priority for you.