Magazine article Screen International

Netherlands Film Festival Kicks off amid Drama

Magazine article Screen International

Netherlands Film Festival Kicks off amid Drama

Article excerpt

HFM (Sept 24-27) is the industry component of the Netherlands Film Festival, the 10-day event in Utrecht showcasing he best in Dutch film and which culminates with the most prestigious prizes in Dutch Film - the Golden Calf awards.

The festival itself started in rancorous fashion with the news that producer Klaas de Jong had pulled Roel Reiné's seafaring epic Michiel de Ruyter from the competition.

De Jong was unhappy that the film hadn't been nominated for a Best Picture award despite being one of the most commercial Dutch movies of the year.

He complained in the local press that the awards were too arthouse-oriented and didn't pay enough attention to films that reached the popular audience.

Festival director Willemien van Aalst strongly denied that the festival was ignoring populist fare.

"The Netherlands Film Festival is for all Dutch films and for all Dutch filmmakers," van Aalst stated. "We want to be an open festival and we want to have a discussion with everybody."

No genre, she insisted, gets preferential treatment.

She pointed out that the awards are now voted on by the Film Academy, not by the festival.

Furthermore, if Michiel de Ruyter had remained in contention, it would have been shortlisted as one of the three nominees in the running for the Golden Calf voted by the public.

In a bold move partially aimed at attracting younger audiences and in tapping the young art school, animating, gaming and programming talent in Utrecht, van Aalst has opened up the estival to interactive gaming and to television alongside feature films.

Latest figures, co-pro treaties

During the festival, the latest "Facts And Figures" of the Dutch Film Industry were published.

With 6.4 million admissions to Dutch films in 2014, the local market share has risen slightly, to 20.9% (up from 20.6% in 2013).

The Netherlands Film production incentive, launched in summer 2014, has continued to boost the production sector and to lure foreign producers to the country. In 2014, 59 Dutch-backed projects were made as international coproductions.

The Netherlands is expected to sign two further film co-production treaties, with China and with South Africa, by the end of the year. …

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