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Country Focus: Belgium

Doreen Boonekamp • CEO, Netherlands Film Fund

by 

Doreen Boonekamp  • CEO, Netherlands Film Fund

- New co-production and development agreements signed with Germany, some encouraging box-office results for local titles and a new film-production incentive scheme celebrating its first anniversary: the Dutch film industry seems to be in good shape in 2015. Cineuropa takes stock of the situation with the CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund, Doreen Boonekamp.

Cineuropa: In June 2014, the Netherlands Film Fund launched the Netherlands Film Production Incentive (NFPI) scheme. One year on, what is your opinion of the outcome of it?
Doreen Boonekamp
: From the very start, the NFPI has had a very positive impact on the Dutch film industry. Approximately €17.5 million have been granted predominantly to international co-productions. We have noticed a significant increase in production activity in the Netherlands, as these projects are bringing over €85 million in production spending to the country. Sixty-seven projects have been supported since the NFPI entered into force in June 2014: 46 of them have started shooting, and four have already been released. We believe the scheme is perceived as being transparent and easy to work with by both national and international producers. The budget available for 2015 is slightly over €25 million.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)Cine Iberoamericano Int

Will some innovations be introduced in the NFPI?
Currently there is a discussion under way on expanding the scheme to high-level and internationally co-produced drama series, but this can only be done if additional budget becomes available. 

The Netherlands has always adopted an open attitude towards international co-productions. This was proved again this year with the signature of a German-Dutch co-production agreement. How have things evolved since then?
Indeed; many films have already been co-produced by the two countries, such as Supernova [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Atlantic. [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Jan-Willem van Ewijk
film profile
]
, A Blast [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Syllas Tzoumerkas
film profile
]
, Nena [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Zurich
 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, and the upcoming All of a Sudden and Francofonia. But thanks to the agreement, this cooperation has been intensified. New projects include Martin Koolhoven’s Brimstone [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Martin Koolhoven
film profile
]
 (N279 Entertainment) and Richard ClausThe Little Vampire 3D (First Look), which are now wrapping co-production deals with Germany. 

Germany seems to be a privileged partner, as yet another agreement – a development fund for Dutch/German children's films – is also now under way. Can you tell us about it?
Dutch children’s/youth and family films boast successful domestic and international track records. Internationally, that genre is widely praised and highly acclaimed, as highlighted in festival selections and through awards. They offer many opportunities to create related educational materials on contemporary, historical and universal themes. They are one of our top priorities. Therefore, at the latest Berlinale, the Netherlands Film Fund and the Mitteldeutsche Filmförderung launched a special co-development fund for original children’s and youth films. We expect to select the first projects in May. The special thing about this fund is that it aims to support co-productions at the development stage in order to enable the teams involved from both countries to co-develop the projects in close collaboration.

The Netherlands has always been good at producing animated shorts; what about feature-length animated films? Is the fund supporting these in particular?
Since 2009, we have been making an effort to stimulate the development and production of animated features. An eclectic range of 15 Dutch animated feature projects is now at various stages of development and production. The majority of them will be co-produced internationally. Some of them have already been distributed theatrically, like Miffy the Movie [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Pim & Pom, the Big Adventure
 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Trippel Trappel [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]

Recently, several Dutch films such as Viper's Nest 2 and Admiral [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
performed quite well at the local box office. What about the next releases? Are there any potential hits set to be brought out in the coming months?

Several titles have contributed to the growing market share of Dutch films at the domestic box office. Diederick Koopal’s Bloed, zweet en tranen (Lemming Film) is currently in the top four. Forthcoming releases include youth films such as Diederik Ebbinge’s Kidnap (produced by Shooting Star), Ineke Houtman’s literary adaptation De Ontsnapping (JWP Scholte Beheer) and Mimoun Oaissa’s comedy De Masters (TdM Productions). Surprise by Oscar-winning director Mike van Diem (Isabella Films) will open in May, as will the cycling film Ventoux by Nicole van Kilsdonk (KeyFilm). And for later on this year, we are also excited about the new film by Alex van Warmerdam, Schneider vs Bax, and about Boudewijn Koole’s Beyond Sleep. The Cannes competition film The Lobster [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile
]
will also be hitting screens in late 2015.

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