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HFM: A strong Dutch contingent at the first edition of BoostNL


- Five directors and producers from the Netherlands took the floor to pitch their current projects at the event

HFM: A strong Dutch contingent at the first edition of BoostNL
Dutch director Margot Schaap pitching her project, Quicksand

The first edition of BoostNL took place at the weekend, as part of the Holland Film Meeting – the first stop of an initiative that is scheduled to continue at the forthcoming 2017 IFFR’s CineMart (29 January-1 February). To kick off with, a total of 11 projects were selected to receive expertise and support for their business planning and creative decision-making. Most of those 11 projects were European, and the Netherlands had a particularly strong presence: five of its directors and producers took the floor to pitch their current projects.

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Among them was the documentary In the Arms of Morpheus. Produced by KeyDocs and directed by Marc Schmidt (whose credits include Matthew’s Law), the project is described by the director as a film about sleeping and dreaming – important topics, as dreaming is probably the last resort of freedom in a world where everything is becoming more and more subject to external control. The Netherlands Film Fund is backing the project through its Film Production Incentive scheme.

Dreamscape is another interesting project, set to be produced by Iris Otten and directed by Anna van der Heide (Mr Frog). Pitched as a family film, Dreamscape is set in Amsterdam during World War II, as a young Jew is forced to hide in the local zoo and then learn how to struggle as he meets a resistance fighter. The Netherlands Film Festival and the MEDIA sub-programme are supporting the €2.5 million project, which is now looking for co-producers.

From a historical drama to a family story: another Dutch project pitched was Quicksand, a PRPL production written and directed by Margot Schaap. The project focuses on three generations of women (a grandmother, a daughter and a six-year-old granddaughter) haunted by the spectres of serious diseases (cancer and OCD). The script is currently in development, with the support of the Netherlands Film Fund.

Sacha Polak is directing Jade, a film focused on a facially disfigured woman, which is being produced by Amsterdam-based outfit Viking Film along with the UK (Emu Films), Belgium (A Private View) and Ireland (Savage Productions). Polak, who co-wrote the script with Susanne Farrell, describes Jade as a film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance. New partners are welcome.

The fifth title is Totem, a co-production between Volya Films (the Netherlands) and Pallas Film (Germany), to be directed by Sander Burger. Focused on the ten-year-old daughter of two illegal immigrants, Totem is another family movie, whose €2 million budget was contributed to by the Netherlands Film Fund.

The UK’s Tehran, City of Love by Ali Jaberansari (Here and There Productions) and Sweden’s Jessica by Ninja Thyberg were the other European projects presented as part of the BoostNL programme.

Non-European projects selected for BoostNL included Caroline Monnet’s Bootlegger (Canada), Hala Lofty’s The Bridge (Egypt), Gustavo Pizzi’s Loveling (Brazil) and The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (Palestine).

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