The European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) has published the report Mapping of film and audiovisual public funding criteria in the EU. The study tracks over 800 schemes of public national/federal and regional film and audiovisual funds.

According to the 2013 Cinema Communication program, member states have “the primary cultural aim of ensuring that the national and regional cultures and creative potential are expressed in the audiovisual media of film and television”. The cultural profile (mandatory eligibility conditions) is the most common tool, identified in funds in 18 countries. Cultural tests are the alternative method and they are based on a series of alternative conditions. The applicant project must either comply with a minimum of conditions (identified in funds in 11 countries) or reach a minimum number of points in order to be eligible for support (identified in funds in 7 countries).

There are several granting criteria related to the budget of a project. For example, the schemes of some funds establish a minimum budget to consider a project eligible, so that a commercial exploitation can be expected. On the contrary, a minimum contribution to the financing plan by an applicant is not a frequent requirement but it is relatively more common in production schemes (20,1% of cases). The IDM Film Fund in Italy, to name just one, establishes a minimum contribution of 5% by the producer. This requirement is a less frequent in the case of distribution support (19% of the schemes) and of pre-production support (only 10%).

As highlighted by the EAO, the film and audiovisual funds follow quite strictly the rules established in the Cinema Communication regarding the aid intensity. In fact, this is one of the most frequent criteria, present in 75% of the schemes tracked (80% in production support schemes). As a general rule, aid should be limited to 50% of the production budget, but percentage can rise up to 60% for international co-production and up to 100% for difficult audiovisual works (because of the shooting language or the topic).

Around half of the production schemes tracked set a precise minimum spend in the country/region as a share of the awarded amount. Shooting criteria are generally less frequent but a bit more recurring for regional funds, the EAO reports. By way of illustration, in the case of the Emilia Romagna Film Fund, a minimum of 6 shooting days in the region is required.