HBF Script and Project Development

What type of projects are you looking for?

Projects from a country on the Hubert Bals Fund list of eligible countries, or the diaspora of one of these countries, with a director attached, who is a national from one of these countries or lives in the diaspora. The artistic quality of an application is the main criteria for selection. The selection committee will also look closely at the viability of a project.

For its Script and Project Development category, the HBF is looking to support projects in early to mid-development. 

The HBF is part of International Film Festival Rotterdam and generally speaking, the type of projects that the HBF supports are in line with the type of films that are screened at IFFR. Please see the past Harvests of HBF supported films that were part of IFFR’s programme as a reference.

How do the subcategories for HBF Script and Project Development work?

There are two subcategories in the HBF Script and Project Development category, in line with the programme sections of IFFR.

  • HBF Bright Future (max. €10,000 per project): A special call for feature films by first- and second-time filmmakers. 
  • HBF Voices (max. €10,000 per project): A special scheme for feature films by filmmakers more advanced in their career. Selection criteria include verifiable interest from potential co-producers, sales agents and/or distributors. 
When will the application form be available?

The application form for Script and Project Development support (both Bright Future and Voices) is available at least two weeks before the deadline.

If you want to prepare your application in advance, you can find the information requested in the application form in the question below. 

What is the exact time of the deadline?

All applications done at the Hubert Bals Fund should be submitted before 23:59h on the deadline date in the applicant’s time zone. Late submissions are not taken into consideration.

What information is required in the application form?

The Hubert Bals Fund application form allows applicants to submit detailed information about their project. The form is available through your personal account two weeks before the deadline. The following information is required in the form:

For Script and Project Development Support: Bright Future

  • General info: title, production country/ies, type of film;
  • Film credits: name and contact details of director, and if applicable, of (co-)producer, writer, financier, sales agent;
  • Technical info: running time, shooting format, colour/b&w, languages;
  • Financial info: total budget (in Euro), financing already secured (it is possible to add an explanantion in the Remarks field);
  • Project info: logline (max. 60 words), synopsis (max 1,500 words), director’s statement (max 1,500 words), sold territories, link to one piece of previous work, most successful recent festival selections and awards for director and producer (list max. 3 titles), possible Dutch cooperation e.g. co-producer, distributor, crew (optional).

Script and Project Development Support: Voices

  • General info: title, production country/ies, type of film;
  • Film credits: name and contact details of director, and if applicable, of (co-)producer, writer, financier, sales agent;
  • Technical info: running time, shooting format, colour/b&w, languages;
  • Financial info: total budget (in Euro), financing already secured;
  • Project dossier, including:

                    - Synopsis (max. 3 pages)
                    - Treatment (max. 12 pages, sending in a script instead of a treatment is not allowed)
                    - Director’s biography and filmography
                    - Director’s statement (max. 3 pages) and Director's visual concept and artisch approach (max. 2 pages)
                    - Producer’s biography and filmography (if a producer is attached)
                    - Producer’s statement (max. 3 pages) (if a producer is attached)
                    - Budget for script and project development phase
                    - Financial plan for total production
                    - Written explanation on finance strategy
                    - Development schedule
                    - Previous audiovisual work of the director: online available on streaming platform (such as Vimeo and YouTube)
                    - Optional: visual reference material
                    - Optional: intended Dutch collaboration(s), e.g. co-producer, crew, services, distributor

What information is required in the dossier for Script and Project Development?

For the Script and Project Development Support: Voices category, it is mandatory to submit the project dossier via the application form before the deadline.

For the Script and Project Development Support: Bright Future category, it works as follows: within one month after the deadline the HBF selection committee will reach a decision on all HBF Script and Project Development submissions in the Bright Future category and all pre-selected projects will receive an e-mail notification to submit their full dossier. You have one week to submit the complete dossier after notification, you can send it via e-mail to [email protected]. It is not possible to extend this one week period, therefore we recommend that you make sure you have the materials available.

For both categories the following materials should be included in the project dossier:

  • Synopsis (max. 3 pages)
  • Treatment (max. 12 pages, sending in a script instead of a treatment is not allowed)
  • Director’s biography and filmography (max. 2 pages)
  • Director’s statement (max. 3 pages)
  • Director's visual concept and artistic approach (max. 2 pages)
  • Producer’s biography and filmography (max. 2 pages) (if a producer is attached)
  • Producer’s statement (max. 3 pages) (if a producer is attached)
  • Budget for script and project development phase
  • Financial plan for total production
  • Written explanation on finance strategy (max. 1 page)
  • Development schedule
  • Previous audiovisual work of the director: online available on streaming platform (such as Vimeo and YouTube)
  • Optional: visual reference material (moodboard, teaser, reference pictures)
  • Optional: intended Dutch collaboration(s), e.g. co-producer, crew, services, distributor

Besides the page restriction for some documents, there are no specific requirements regarding dossier format, font (size) and spacing. These materials should be compiled into one PDF or Word document. All materials should be written in English. Only complete dossiers will be taken into consideration.
What is a treatment?

We are aware that there are different definitions of what a "treatment" is. It can be a prose-style extended synopsis, or a script-style scene-by-scene description of the project without dialogue. Sometimes writers also include separate character descriptions. Most filmmakers include prose-style treatments in their HBF Script and Project Development applications. However, we are open to receiving any kind of treatment, as long as it does not exceed the 12 pages maximum. Whatever works best for you, is fine with us. 

Is a co-directed project eligible?

The director(s) of the film should be a national from one of the countries mentioned on the HBF list of eligible countries, or the diaspora of one of these countries. If one of the directors is not a national one of these countries or does not live in diaspora, it is not possible to apply.

What does pre-selection mean (only Bright Future sub-category)?

In phase 1 of the selection process for HBF Script and Project Development, the selection committee assesses all application forms submitted. Out of these submitted forms, a limited number of projects is invited to send in their complete application dossiers. These projects are 'pre-selected' and enter phase 2 of the application process.

Applicants that are not 'pre-selected' will be notified by e-mail. It is not possible to enter phase 2 without passing phase 1, so please make sure you fill out our online application form through your personal account. If you haven’t been pre-selected, it is not possible to submit the same project in the same category again.

Please note: as of the 1 September 2018 deadline for Script and Project Development Support: Voices this selection procedure no longer includes pre-selection and it is mandatory to submit your project dossier in the application form upon submission.

What does first and second feature films mean?

As per 2017, the HBF has split up its Script and Project Development category in two sub-categories: Bright Future for first and second-time feature filmmakers and Voices for more established filmmakers.

In principle, the HBF Bright Future category is meant for filmmakers who are working on their first or second narrative/fiction feature film. This means that directors who have made one fiction feature and one (or more) documentary features should usually apply in the Bright Future category. Of course, there are exceptions, as filmmakers can be considered 'more established' without having made two fiction features or more. If you are unsure in which category your film belongs, please contact HBF-staff through [email protected]

What does the HBF expect in return after selection?

The HBF asks for a few things in return for its support, after a supported film is finished. Firstly a front credit with the Hubert Bals Fund logo in the film. Besides this, the World, International or Benelux premiere of the film should take place at International Film Festival Rotterdam, and no screening fees should be charged. The Benelux rights of the film remain with the rights-holder of the film. However, if no distribution agreement with a Benelux distributor is concluded within six months after the World premiere of the film, the Benelux exploitation rights are transferred to HBF. The HBF also asks non-exclusive world VOD rights of the film, to ensure that the film can at some point (after potential exclusive deals) be included in online IFFR curated content.

Will the HBF have any (distribution) rights to my film project if it is selected?

The Benelux rights of the film remain with the rights-holder of the film. However, if no distribution agreement with a Benelux distributor is concluded within six months after the World premiere of the film, the Benelux exploitation rights are transferred to HBF. The HBF also asks non-exclusive world VOD rights of the film, to ensure that the film can at some point (after potential exclusive deals) be included in online IFFR curated content.

What do you mean with most successful recent festival selections or awards for director and producer?

The application form requires you to include information about previous accomplishments of the director and the producer. It is important for us to know more about your previous work. In these fields you can summarise three important awards, selections or premieres of your work. For instance: 3 different awards for one film, three festival selections for three different films, one scholarship and two grants for one project, you decide!

Can I send a script instead of a treatment when applying for HBF Script and Project Development?

No. You cannot send a script instead of a treatment in the application process. Due to the amount of applications we receive, and given the fact that the Hubert Bals Fund has a small selection committee, it is not possible for us to accept scripts for this category due to time issues.

Should a producer be attached to my project when I apply for Script and Project Development?

No. Since we support projects in (early) development, it often happens that we support projects without a producer attached. When applying without a producer attached to your project, it is advisable to include some information on finding a producer. For instance are you in talks with anyone already? By when do you expect to attach a producer? Do you expect to (partly) produce the film yourself as a director/producer? Etc.

What type of budget plan should I include?

For HBF Bright Future

Phase 1: Please fill out the (estimated) total budget of the film in the entry form.
Phase 2: Please send us the budget for your current production phase. This means that, when applying for HBF Script and Project Development, we would like to receive the development budget. You may also include (a summary of) the total budget, if available.

For HBF Voices

Please send us the budget for your current production phase. This means that, when applying for HBF Script and Project Development, we would like to receive the development budget. You may also include (a summary of) the total budget, if available.

What is the difference between the financial plan and the finance strategy?

A financial plan should explain which financiers you have on board and for which amount. This overview also shows how you are planning to cover the remaining financing; please also indicate any pending applications. You can include all sorts of financiers (producers, funds, awards, etc.). Your financial plan should concern at least your current production phase. If you have a finance plan for your total film available, please include this as well. 

The finance strategy is a written text, which clarifies the financial plan and should explain your (provisional) plan to finance the film. You can further explain the amounts and status of your financial plan. 

Is it necessary to have other financiers/partners in place?

For the fund to participate in a project, there should be a strong possibility that the film can be financed and made. However, since applicants submit their project in the (early) development phase, it is not necessary to have other financiers or partners in place at the time of applying. Especially with Script and Project Development support, the Hubert Bals Fund is often the first partner on board. The selection committee looks closely at the impact of our moderate contribution (max. €10,000) and to what extend funding of the development stage is (still) needed. Often, the selection committee prioritises projects with little or no funding in place over projects with high confirmed amounts of (production) support.

Is there a budget cap for projects applied to Script and Project Development?

The Script and Project Development scheme of the Hubert Bals Fund does not have an official budget cap. However our selection committee does look at the impact of our contribution of maximum €10.000 in relation to the general budget of the project. For this reason we rarely support projects with budgets over €1,2 million in practice. 

What kind of previous work should I include?

In both phases 1 and 2 of HBF Script and Project Development projects in the Bright Future category and for all HBF Script and Project Development projects in the Voices category, you are asked to submit (an) online streaming link(s) to your previous audiovisual work. This is a mandatory part of the application.

Preferably your previous work supports and clarifies your Script and Project Development application. You can explain the relation (or lack thereof) between your previous films and the current project in your application, for instance in the director's statement.

Your previous work needs to be subtitled in English and the online link to your film must be available until three months after the deadline. Please submit at least one complete film, trailers and/or showreels only are not sufficient.