Jordan and Flanders reach agreement on film sector collaboration

  • July 5, 2021

Flanders and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have concluded a cooperation agreement for audiovisual co-production. This agreement makes it easier to officially recognize Flemish-Jordanian co-productions. Recognized productions have better access to international support, national support measures and a larger production budget.

The Jordanian film sector has seen strong growth since the 2000s. The country put itself on the international map in 2003 with the establishment of the Jordanian Royal Film Commission. Jordanian princess Rym al-Ali is executive commissioner of the Royal Film Commission and has previously shown interest in a cooperation agreement with Flanders. Flemish Minister-President and Minister of Culture Jan Jambon also recognizes the value of the Arab kingdom as a partner. On July 5, Luc Delrue, Secretary General of the Department of Culture, Youth & Media, and the Jordanian Minister of Culture, Ali Al-Ayed, signed the agreement at the Film Commission in Amman.

Access to national aid measures from concerned countries

In a co-production agreement, the contracting authorities lay down conditions that a production must meet in order to be recognized as an official co-production. The status of official co-production ensures that the recognized production is treated as a 'national production' in the co-producing countries. This means that a Flemish-Jordanian co-production, which is recognized as such by the VAF (Flemish Audiovisual Fund), has access to the national support measures of the countries concerned. In Belgium this includes the tax shelter scheme and in Jordan there is the Tax Rebate, which was introduced in 2018 to encourage the production of films in a fiscal way.

There is already a lot of interest from the Flemish film sector in the possibilities that the agreement will entail, including for the new feature film Rebel. The film tells the haunting story of Nassim from Molenbeek and is directed by none other than Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. The two directors are currently on location in Jordan for the shooting. The co-production agreement will enable the Flemish audiovisual sector to make smooth use of Jordanian infrastructure, financial compensation and the fantastic film locations that the country has to offer.

Minister-President Jambon reacts enthusiastically: “This agreement brings along a lot of new possibilities, both financially and artistically. The recognition of co-productions removes a major barrier to collaboration. In this way, the Flemish film sector can benefit from the supporting policy in Jordan. Moreover, with the agreement we are taking an important step in the exploration of the wider Arab film world.”