Nicolaine den Breejen • Distributor
“We notice a trend against non-English spoken films”
by Boyd van Hoeij
Nicolaine den Breejen is the founder and CEO of Cinemien, one of the Low Countries’ most prolific arthouse distributors.
Cineuropa: How would you describe the position of Cinemien in the Netherlands, and ABC-Cinemien in the Benelux?
Nicolaine den Breejen: ABC-Cinemien is one of the oldest independent arthouse distributors in the Netherlands. We have our own video label called homescreen and we do our own TV and VOD sales. Two years ago we changed our company structure and instead of Cinemien in the Netherlands and ABC Distribution in Belgium and Luxemburg, we are now ABC Theatrical Distribution in the Netherlands, though the trade name remains Cinemien, and ABC Distribution in Belgium and Luxemburg. Both companies are daughters of the ABC Holding BV.
Being one of the oldest distributors with over 35 years of experience has the big advantage of having a huge network, having created a lot of goodwill and, of course, having a big catalogue. We are therefore a very healthy company with a steady market share in the Benelux.
What characterises a typical Cinemien title?
Having recently released A Prophet [+see also:
interview: Jacques Audiard
interview: Jacques Audiard and Tahar R…
film profile], Inferno, Lebanon [+see also:
film profile], Vincere [+see also:
interview: Cannes 2009 Marco Bellocchio
interview: Filippo Timi - actor
film profile] and Gordos [+see also:
interview: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
Interview with Daniel Sánchez-Arévalo,…
film profile], you could say that a typical ABC-Cinemien release is an auteur film of great quality, both in terms of cinematography and contents, and a film with a contemporary urgency. Our films are released as widely as possible, which is easier to do in the Netherlands, with its huge density of theaters and arthouse cinemas, than in Belgium, where theaters are few. Each film has its own needs and we look at release and marketing needs on a case-by-case basis. What is typically Cinemien for each film, however, is that we dedicate a lot of time, thought and care to each title.
Which recent title did a lot better than expected, and which title underperformed against all expectations?
It’s always difficult to predict which films will work and which will fail, but we do notice a trend against non-English spoken films and non-American films. Since more and more films are released in our territories each week, the arthouse films really suffer. Of course there are always exceptional surprises like Mid-August Lunch [+see also:
film profile], which grossed €400,000 in the Benelux.
Could you tell us a little bit about cinemalink.tv, your foray into VOD?
We started cinemalink.tv two years ago already, in line with our tradition to be at the forefront of new technology and media developments. One of the biggest improvements we have made is to stop with the Windows Media Player encoding and to switch to streaming flash H264 instead, which makes the titles more accessible, also for Apple users.
Marketing-wise we have teamed up with one of the biggest national newspapers in the Netherlands, De Volkskrant, which really boosted site admissions and the number of streams. We have also started working with a number of fellow distribution companies and they are now providing us with their titles as well, so the Cinemalink.tv library is expanding fast. We are now at 275 titles and we aim to have 500 titles by the end of this year.
How do you think the Netherlands compare with other European countries when it comes to distributing European arthouse titles?
We are very fortunate because we have a huge number of cinemas in our territory. Unfortunately, the average Dutch person only goes to the cinema 1.4 times a year.
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