The Comeback grant for film and TV covers costs for productions who are facing a shut down or delayed start of shooting due to COVID-19.
During the Corona-crisis shooting of film and TV-productions had to be shut down and postponed which lead to the consequences of going over budget. The costs caused by Covid-19 measures are not covered by insurances. From mid-March until June no bigger feature film production was able to take that financial risk and start shooting again. Producers were lobbying for a state aid to compensate additional costs caused by interruption or delay of shooting due to coronavirus-infections.
The objective of the Comeback grant is to stabilise the Austrian film industry by enabling producers to restart their interrupted shootings respectively start new shootings with the backup of financial state aid in case of interruption of the shooting due to any measures taken by the authorities relating to Covid-19. Thanks to the introduction of the 25 Mio. fund productions in Austria could restart in June 2020.
The program is administered by the managing team of FISA-Film Industry Support Austria. The ministries responsible are the Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sports.
The guidelines of the Comeback grant are based on the GGER article 54.
The total budget available is EUR 25 Mio.; the programme is administrated by the project team which is also responsible for Film Industry Support Austria, which helps to achieve synergy effects.
Evidence of success
Due to the novelty of the program the evidence of success is yet to be proven. It will be the number of produced films in Austria since the introduction of the program in June 2020 until the end of the program.
Diverse needs and ideas of how a state aid program for Covid-19 within the film industry should work posed difficulties to its development. The requirement being a fund due to existing legal frameworks could not meet all criteria. The legal set-up of the guidelines was a complex procedure.
Potential for learning or transfer
No country and almost no industry in the world were spared by the consequences of the necessary Covid-19 measures taken by the governments. Especially the film industry were social distancing and quarantine disables film shoots the way they were foreseen and prepared for over months at the time of the lockdown. Even months after the measures, necessary in order to avoid the virus from spreading, bear tremendous financial risks for producers to start reshooting or shoot new films. The consequences are obvious, without producing new film and series, there is no employment for a whole industry and the aftermath on a long run could lead to a total breakdown of local film industries. Therefore, the solution for other countries could be to introduce a state aid program comparable to the Comeback grant to stabilise the film industry.
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