Uta, how long have you been working for the Creative Europe Desk and what is its purpose? And what is your professional background?
I have been working for the Creative Europe (CE) Desk in Berlin-Brandenburg for 14 years and have a background in film production and distribution. There are four CE Desks in Germany, we assist professionals with questions related to the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme.
Creative Europe is a European funding programme, designed to support the European audio-visual, cultural and creative industries and consists of two sub-programmes: CULTURE - promoting the creative and cultural sectors, and MEDIA - supporting the development and distribution of audio-visual works including new media and videogames. Funding is given to projects that have the potential to travel and find audiences beyond their national borders.
Can you tell us more about the games funding scheme of the Creative Europe programme and the target group of companies that can apply for it?
This funding supports the development of narrative video games (from the concept to the first version of a playable prototype) which are intended for commercial exploitation. European video game production companies which have legally existed for at least 12 months prior to the submission date and that have already developed/produced and commercially distributed a previous narrative video game (after 1.1.17) are eligible to apply. The applicant must also own the majority of the rights related to the submitted project.
The grants only support the “development phase” of a project (initial idea to the production of the first playable prototype). The “production phase” (anything after this) must not be scheduled to occur within 8 months from the date of application.
The overall estimated budget for this scheme in 2020 is €3.78 million. The total grant awarded to each project can range from €10,000 to €150,000 and must be 50% match funded. Applications from across Europe are assessed centrally by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) with assistance from industry experts working in a relevant field. Important criteria in the evaluation are the quality of the content, the storytelling and originality of the concept, as well as the innovative character of the project compared to existing works – and, of course the international market potential. Additional points can be awarded for projects specifically targeting children up to the age of 12 years.
What is the fastest way to get Creative Europe funding? What do I need to do if I am interested in applying?
First and foremost, contact your regional Creative Europe Desk! Together with the potential applicant we discuss and check if the company and the project fulfill the eligibility criteria for application and how to best present your application. It’s important to be aware that there is only one Call for Applications per year for the CREATIVE EUROPE Video Game support. Next deadline for applications: 12.2.2020.
The first application is a little bureaucratic and works in three steps: new applicants first have to obtain a Participant Identification Code (PIC). They do this by registering for an EU Login and entering company information into the Funding and Tenders Portal. Once the applicant has registered and received their Participant Identification Code (PIC) they use that to generate the electronic application e-Form from a different website.
Good news: the grant is given as a subsidy and is non-refundable! The other news is: the application process does take time but, no worries, the Desks will help you through the process. More details can also be found in the Guide for Applicants.
What are the common mistakes that are made by the applicants? And how can they best be avoided?
A common mistake? Starting too late to prepare the application! Completing the forms and writing the answers and strategies can take quite a bit of time. Starting early also means that we can actually check your application before submission. And getting application feedback from the Desks can make a real difference for success.
Another point is that while the guidelines do not exclude Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality projects, ONLY narrative video games (not an interactive fiction or an interactive documentary or location based VR experiences…) are eligible and, of course, they must fulfill all other eligibility criteria. The main activity of the applicant company must contain “video game production or video game development or software production or software development” or any equivalent in national languages. If the company is not registered under these eligible activities, it must update the registration at the national chamber of commerce before the date of application.
What would you like to say to the games industry in Berlin and beyond?
Berlin has a strong international developer scene with numerous indie studios and creative minds. This game scene is highly international in terms of creativity and business concepts. International studios and creatives from all over the world have gathered here to create a unique base for technical and creative innovation. It’s a great place to get international projects off the ground - with the help of European backing and access European funds.
Thank you so much, Uta!