Austria
Dreamlike Lakelands
Lake Uri, Reutte, Tyrol

FISA - Film Industry Support Austria

The funding process is overseen by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws) as well as Location Austria - the National Film Commission of Austria - a department of ABA – Invest in Austria.The aws has overall responsibility for evaluating the pre-requisites for granting economic support as well as coordinating the administrative processing of the funding. Location Austria is responsible for carrying out the Cultural Test stipulated by the EU as well as evaluating general and film-specific aspects of the submitted projects, in particular of international productions.

Funding recipients and the project to be supported by FISA are required to fulfil certain pre-defined quality criteria. One important pre-requisite is the Cultural Test. Financial support is given on the basis of the available budgetary funds in line with the “first come, first served” principle.

How much is the grant?

The non-repayable grant amounts up to 20 % of the eligible production costs for national productions, 25 % for co-productions and 30 % for international productions (the maximum being 15% of the total annual grant budget). The basis for calculating the extent of the grant is a maximum of 80 % of total production costs.

What do international productions need to consider?

The total production costs of a feature film must be EUR 4 million (documentary: EUR 500.000) with a minimum Austrian spent of EUR 200.000 (feature film) or EUR 80.000 (documentary). The non-repayable grant amounts up to 30 % of the production costs eligible for support but must not surpass 15 % of the total annual grant budget. Productions costs eligible for support refer to those film-related deliveries and services in Austria which are performed on behalf of the film production company or its employees, free-lance employees or self-employed people. A film project may be submitted as an international production if it fails to meet the preconditions for approval as an Austrian-foreign co-production. To qualify for support, an international production must meet at least two criteria and score at least 38 points in the Cultural Test.

You need an Austrian producer to file the application. If you intend to submit an application for a international production, get in contact with Location Austria prior submission (fisa@locationaustria.at).

What do co-productions need to consider?

Co-productions need to comply with the respective intra-national film treaty. If no such agreement exists, the project has to have an Austrian financial-, licensing-, artistic-, and technical contribution of 20 % of the total production costs. Austrian-foreign co-productions should be provisionally approved by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs by the time of submission.

Does my company qualify for support?

  • Applicants are independent film production companies with evidence of sufficient professional qualifications and experience in artistic terms and with respect to the film industry. The professional qualifications of the funding applicant will be evaluated in the light of the scope and type of project to be funded.

  • The applicant is responsible for producing the film until the point at which the completed film is delivered. He must contribute actively and content-wise to the film production process, and bears organizational and business responsibility for producing the film. With regards to a co-production, the applicant must be at least co-responsible for the contents of the film production, and actively participate in producing the film (international productions excluded).

  • The registered headquarters of the applicant must be in Austria.

  • The applicant must have produced and commercially distributed at least one comparable feature length cinema film in Austria or another EEA member state in the last five years prior to the filing of the application.

How can an application be filed, and what is the basis for funding decisions?

Applications can only be submitted at Film Industry Support Austria. It is absolutely necessary to submit all required application documents as well as to show clear confirmation that financing of the film project has been secured. Applications can be submitted on an ongoing basis without having to adhere to any particular filing deadlines. Projects for which shooting (for international productions: the start of shooting in Austria) is begun before submission of an application will not be eligible for support.

In particular, the application must include the following:

  • Information on the applicant (film producer) as well as the crew and cast

  • Documents and information materials describing the project, legal status, schedule

  • Statement by the producer concerning the artistic and economic targets

  • Precise calculation of production costs, financing plan

  • Distribution agreement or Letter of Interest (international productions excluded)

The applications received are ranked on the basis of the date of complete application. Decisions will be made by the Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs within seven weeks upon receipt of a complete submission only after availability of financial coverages. Once approval has been granted the shooting must begin within six months. Funds will generally be disbursed in three instalments: upon the start of filming, upon the submission of a rough edit, and after verification of the final costs.

Which criteria does my film have to fulfil?

  • The film must pass the Cultural Test as stipulated in the funding guidelines.

  • The cinematic release must have a minimum length of 70 minutes, whereas children’s films are required to have a minimum length of 59 minutes.

  • In case of a feature film a minimum of 5 shooting days (exception: animated projects) in Austria is required.

  • In case of co-productions as well as national productions: minimum of total production costs of EUR 2 million for feature films (EUR 1 million for debut of a director) and of EUR 330.000 for documentaries plus minimum eligible spent in Austria.

  • In case of international productions:

a) minimum of total production costs of EUR 4 million for feature films and of EUR 500.000 for documentaries and

b) minimum of EUR 200.000 (feature film) or EUR 80.000 (documentary) eligible spent in Austria 

  • The contents of the film must not violate the Austrian Constitution or any valid laws in Austria, or violate human dignity, offend the religious or ethical feelings of viewers or glorify violence.

International productions are excluded from the following criteria:

  • The producer must bear at least 2,5 per cent (cash) of the total production costs or the Austrian share of the total production costs.

  • One final version of the film must be produced in German. To meet this criterion, it is sufficient to produce one version with German subtitles suitable for being shown in a cinema.

  • Release of the film in Austrian cinemas has to be verified within one year after the film production has been completed. The typical embargo periods stipulated in Austrian regulations apply.

How can my film pass the Cultural Test?

The Cultural Test for Fiction Films and Documentaries consists of four categories:

  • “Cultural Content”
  • "Film Professionals”
  • “Production Criteria” and
  • “Exploitation” 

The film is granted one or more points each time it fulfils one of the criteria contained in the above mentioned parts.

A fiction film only passes the Cultural Test if it fulfils at least four criteria in the “Cultural Content” part and has been awarded at least 51 points.

An animated project passes the Cultural Test if it fulfils at least two criteria in the "Cultural Content" part and has reached at least 46 points.

A documentary film only passes the Cultural Test if it fulfils at least two criteria the “Cultural Content” part and has been awarded at least 36 points.

For international productions the Cultural Test consists of three categories, “Cultural Content”, "Film Professionals" and “Production Criteria”. A film only passes the Cultural Test if it fulfills at least two criteria in the category “Cultural Content“ and has been awarded at least 38 points.

What are eligible production costs?

Production costs include the expenses approved in Austria under the cost sheet formula commonly used for film support purposes. Calculation of production costs shall not include purchase tax (deductible input VAT). Productions costs eligible for support refer to those film-related deliveries and services in Austria which are performed on behalf of the film production company or its employees, free-lance employees or self-employed people. 

A decisive factor in recognizing staff-related expenses as eligible is that these salaries, wages, fees and remuneration paid in Austria are subject to limited or unlimited tax liability in Austria. For company-related services, it must be verified that the company providing the services has its headquarters or a subsidiary in Austria. The invoiced services must be fully rendered in Austria, and the invoice must be designated for the company based in Austria.

Can subsidies be combined?

FISA support can be combined with funding provided by other film subsidy institutions or government authorities. For example, these guidelines stipulate that a film project can be subsidized even if the specific project has already been granted federal or provincial funding (multiple subsidies) inasmuch as this is not prohibited by other subsidy guidelines.

However, in the case of multiple subsidies it is still necessary to take into account the maximum permissible funding contained in EU state aid regulations.

For more information please contact: 

Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws):                                                                                                                                     Mag. Julia Schmölz (j.schmoelz@aws.at), Mag. Christiane Lienhart (c.lienhart@aws.at;

Location Austria: Arie Bohrer, Nina-Anica Keidies (fisa@locationaustria.at)

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