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“It is always a pleasure to see the projects we supported brought to the big screen”

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Vanja Kaludjercic • Head, Holland Film Meeting

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- Vanja Kaludjercic, head of the Holland Film Meeting, talked to us about the networking and business opportunities on offer at the Dutch industry platform

Vanja Kaludjercic  • Head, Holland Film Meeting

The 30th edition of the Holland Film Meeting (HFM) brought together 200 industry experts from all around the world to discuss the potential of projects for international co-productions, distribution and festival presentations. Vanja Kaludjercic, head of the HFM, spoke to us about this year’s edition and how she has given the event a significant boost.

Cineuropa: Has the fact that the event is more closely linked to the Netherlands Film Festival given the HFM a boost?
Vanja Kaludjercic: Yes, the Netherlands Film Festival and National Film Conference provide a platform for the various Dutch film-industry professionals, such as editors, cinematographers, animation and documentary filmmakers, directors and producers, as well as distributors. They organise their annual events, seminars, workshops and training sessions during the Netherlands Film Festival. The HFM, on the other hand, is home to international professionals developing and seeking new projects, financiers and partnerships. The overall number of activities involving the national and international industry made it quite clear that it is time to merge the events into one big industry platform, which would foster the creation of new synergies between the HFM and the National Film Conference. We have already initiated this merger by hosting all of the events in one common location. This has provided various advantages to all the participants, as it increases their visibility, the content offering, as well as the networking and business opportunities.

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What is your approach to the co-production project presentation?
Our goal is to be more streamlined. Therefore, we also introduced the new BoostNL initiative, which is a tailor-made programme that has been developed in collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam. BoostNL embraces Dutch and international feature projects that have already been presented at CineMart or supported by the Hubert Bals Fund. A number of Dutch feature projects in development from this selection would otherwise be presented in the Co-Pro selection only. The collaboration between the HFM and CineMart thus maximises the market support and provides the filmmakers with many more opportunities to network with potential international partners. During the HFM, we carefully arrange sessions and meetings with experts from different areas of the industry and continue to support them until CineMart, while they are trying to reach the optimal conditions for their films to be made. 

Do the filmmakers appreciate the fact that they receive support for an extended life span of their projects?
Absolutely. Last year, we launched BoostNL as a pilot project, and the feedback we received from participants and attending professionals was very positive. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but already this year, we feel much more experienced. We are very happy with the selection of BoostNL projects presented here. The expertise sessions that kicked off over the past couple of days in Utrecht will be continued over the next few months, while we’ll be actively preparing the programme to be held at CineMart. 

Are some of the 2016 BoostNL projects already in production?
Many projects are still at the scriptwriting or early production stage. A number of BoostNL projects presented last year have secured funding, and some films, which we had presented as works in progress, have meanwhile been completed. Through BoostNL, we also organise closed sessions in which the filmmakers can present the rough cuts or current edits of their films and receive feedback from experienced professionals. The sessions are moderated and can provide the filmmakers with a significant insight into where the film currently stands and what can, or should, be improved. I can name, as an example, Quality Time [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daan Bakker
film profile
]
 by Dutch director Daan Bakker, presented at last year’s Work-in-Progress session, which has already been selected for the Tiger Competition at Rotterdam.

Do you keep track of the development of all of the projects that have been through the HFM?
Of course; it is always a pleasure to see that a number of the projects we supported have been brought to the big screen. We are proud that quite a few have had an international career.

How are the projects for the HFM selected?
We start off with a call for submissions. After three months, the HFM committee begins with the first round of selection and then creates a shortlist. In their selection process, they apply a variety of criteria. Among others, it is very important that the script is mature and that the director and producer are capable of carrying the project through. The production capacity of the company and the financial plan need to correspond realistically to what the film could turn out to be. And what we as a platform can offer the project is a variety of potential partners. All of these parameters have to be met before a project is selected for the HFM.

How do you select the experts?
We do our very best to matchmake the participating projects with adequate and potentially ideal partners from various countries. There are always some companies, the key players in the international industry, that we want to have around each year, since their participation and contribution is extremely important in terms of fostering the international sales and festival circulation of our projects. However, we also try each year to update the experts’ list with some new and young companies that can bring new or different perspectives into the field.

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