In my case, the story is set in the Netherlands. So naturally, I initially gravitated toward finding a coproducer from the Netherlands. The director is from Belgium and Belgium has some really interesting incentives for film investing so we thought, let's look at Belgium too. There is a piece of the film set in France so we are looking at French money too. And Luxembourg has a great set of studios, where The Girl with a Pearl Earring filmed, that are being considered as well.
The problem is that in order to access the funds that are available in each country, the project must fulfill certain requirements in each country that make it worthy of receiving their funds. And in order to access these funds, you will need a coproducer from each country who will be the liaison between their funding bodies and the production. The requirements of each film fund typically states that a certain number of cast and crew roles must be filled by citizens of their country. There, my friend, is the rub.
For me, I want to get money from all of the countries. However, for the countries, each wants as many of their own citizens working on the film as possible -- rightly so. Often, it's just not possible to meet the requirements in all of the countries. And the more you piecemeal, the more paperwork and deals and negotiating that you have to deal with, which can make your head spin.
This is where the puzzle piecing comes in: Which countries will provide the greatest access to funding?
On top of the funding frenzy in Europe, I must be concerned with funding from America. European coproductions usually allow for no more than 30% American funding. But that 30% does need to be found and often needs to be in place prior to the European financing being triggered. So though the European coproduction system is a viable funding source should your project meet their requirements, it's definitely an organizational challenge. If you're good at puzzles then it might be right for you.