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“The HFM will continue to provide a safety net for the filmmaking community”

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Vanja Kaludjercic • Head, Holland Film Meeting

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- We spoke to Vanja Kaludjercic, head of the Holland Film Meeting, about the first edition of the event after she took over the reins

Vanja Kaludjercic  • Head, Holland Film Meeting

Over four days, the Holland Film Meeting in Utrecht brought together approximately 250 industry representatives from across the world. The selection of projects, the new BoostNL initiative (read the news) and the Work-in-Progress session (read the news) all received very positive feedback. Vanja Kaludjercic, head of the HFM, speaks about her first edition after being appointed director.

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

Cineuropa: What was your approach for the Holland Film Meeting?
Vanja Kaludjercic: The Holland Film Meeting is the industry backbone of the Netherlands Film Festival and aims to stimulate a high level of co-production activity between leading representatives of the Dutch, European and global finance, production, sales and distribution industries. This edition of the HFM comprised a series of events: Project Preparation Day, pitching and individual meetings, conferences, a think tank on the future trajectory of co-production markets, and the Be Dramatic conference, which focused on European TV series. This year, we had two new programmes, BoostNL and Talents en Route, during which we placed a greater emphasis on the new generation of Dutch filmmakers.

What kind of impact has the new BoostNL initiative had? 
We launched the new BoostNL initiative in collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam, designed as a more streamlined, longer-running expert programme providing producers and directors with consultancy and support at all stages: script development, financial packaging, marketing and overall strategic positioning of the projects. The expert team included, among others, Razvan Radulescu and Lucile Hadzihalilovic as script advisors; marketing specialists Mathias Nochis and Alvaro Vegas; Jean-Baptiste Babin, Sara Nagel, Isabell Wiegand and Paul Miller on financial strategy; Hayet Benkara on festivals; and Job ter Burg on editing. At the moment, we are gathering feedback on the BoostNL projects and designing tailor-made follow-up sessions for the coming months.

Where were the projects presented in the first place?
BoostNL kicked off at the HFM, and in its selection were some of the projects from CineMart 2016. Other projects in the selection were supported by the Hubert Bals Fund and were not previously presented at the markets, and there are new Dutch projects that had their market premieres in Utrecht. The next stop for the BoostNL programme (after the follow-up sessions) is CineMart.

What is the main difference between BoostNL and other co-production initiatives?
Compared to a classic co-production market, BoostNL gives opportunities to producers and directors to get an in-depth analysis on various aspects of their project, to recalibrate their strategies, to rethink the positioning of the project and to increase the production capacity. The experts get scripts, financial plans and additional materials in advance so that they can prepare for two-hour sessions with the representatives of each project. The main strength of BoostNL is its pro-active approach in reaching out to the project and its specific needs. Apart from the expert-level consultancy, projects also had the opportunity to have one-to-one meetings (lasting 25 minutes) with potential co-producers, sales agents, distributors and funds. This mix of projects, producers and experts, and the dynamic of the schedule in Utrecht, was, according to feedback we received, both refreshing and beneficial for the projects.

Is BoostNL organised in collaboration with CineMart?
Yes, BoostNL is organised by the Holland Film Meeting, the CineMart in Rotterdam and the Hubert Bals Fund. Each of them follows up closely on the projects, and we will monitor the progress of each. At the HFM, producers had the opportunity to exchange feedback with the HFM/BoostNL team on the spot and to organise additional expert sessions. Some script sessions were so interesting that they continued throughout the next day.

Do you recommend certain concepts and/or partnerships for distribution?
We organised a panel discussion on commercialising the arthouse model (read the news), focusing on financing and distribution and the changes we have experienced over the last decade, as well as future developments and partnerships with new media. We are still in transitional and (I would say) uncertain times, and the shape and direction of future financing and distribution must take into account rapid changes in market and audience habits. However, the HFM will continue to provide a safety net for the filmmaking community and a safe landing area for the new generation of filmmakers.

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