Jan Doense • Producer
“We are on the lookout for not-too-big projects we can help”
by David González
- Dutch producer Jan Doense, working for House of Netherhorror, describes genre film production in the Netherlands and talks about his latest projects at Frontières@Brussels
After having produced horror title The Pool [+see also:
film profile] by English-born, Netherlands-based director Chris W Mitchell, and co-produced with Ireland for the title Cherry Tree by Irish director David Keating, Jan Doense of House of Netherhorror has returned to the Frontières International Co-Production Market to introduce his new project (Mitchell's Amsterdam Gothic - read more) to genre film professionals. Doense chatted with Cineuropa about the development of his project, as well as genre film production in the Netherlands.
Cineuropa: What is the situation regarding genre film production in the Netherlands?
Jan Doense: There has been a real development. The Netherlands Film Fund (NFF) has been very open-minded towards genre films - they are also participating in the Frontières market, which is a good way of putting their money where their mouth is, although it is an artistic fund, and for the selective funding they will always judge a project based on its script. Of course, sometimes in genre film it's not so much about artistic quality, it's about delivering the goods. Still, this fund is really the only place to go in the Netherlands if you want to get a project off the ground. Then there's television, which is really difficult, because the Dutch networks are totally closed off to the idea of genre films. There is also a 30% cash rebate, but it's only applicable to feature film projects that have a budget of a minimum of €1 million. So how do you raise that money if you can't get it from film funds or television? It's almost impossible...
How are you addressing this?
Our project Amsterdam Gothic is budgeted at €2.5 million. We meet the requirements of the cash rebate/production incentive. The project has already been supported by the fund through the script development support, and we are confident it will also get the realisation support. We hope to raise about €500,000 this way - the maximum for a feature film would be €900,000, but we will not aim for the highest amount because it's an English-language project. We have conciously made the decision to make the film in English, though, because we wanted to make it an international co-production.
Indeed, you have made some co-production deals for your project.
Yes, we have struck a deal with the very well-respected Belgian company Potemkino. I have been looking at them enviously ever since they produced and released Cub [+see also:
film profile] two years ago, where I think Peter De Maegd did an excellent job – and he knows all the ways to get funding here: Screen Flanders, the Tax Shelter, Screen Brussels...
Even though film funds tend to prioritise films in the local language, most of the genre projects here are in English language...
It's a bit schizophrenic because I would really prefer to do a Dutch-language project. Amsterdam Gothic is kind of unique in this sense because it was always set to be in English. But doing it in Dutch limits your international possibilities. I used to be against the "let's shoot a Dutch film in English to make it an easier buy for the market", and now I'm confident that it's almost necessary to do that. Even though there are genre films that are being shot in the original language, it still makes a lot of sense to have English-language co-productions.
What other projects are you currently involved in?
We are also working on In The Dark, a sort of similar film to The Pool, a low-budget Dutch-language horror movie, directed by a young director named Mark Weistra. I hope I can also find a sales agent for it here - although we think it will be an entirely Dutch project. We are also involved in other co-productions, through the good possibilities the NFF gives us. We are working on a Spanish project called Once Upon a Time in Jerusalem, which was also presented here last year, and we are trying to get help for a Turkish project, Holy Men. We are on the lookout for not-too-big projects we can help.
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