Rotterdam film board quits over fund dispute

Members want film budget quadrupled

ROTTERDAM — Plans on the part of Rotterdam to peg itself as the new audiovisual center of Holland appear to have come to a screeching halt.

The entire board of directors of Rotterdam Film Funds has resigned over the failure of the Rotterdam City Council to guarantee its funding into 1999. RFF is a 2 million guilder ($1 million) loan and subsid org aimed at drawing more international film biz to Holland’s second-largest city

The Film Funds board, which had asked that the city quadruple its budget to some $4 million a year, was set up three years ago by the City Council for producers and directors willing to lense and do post-production work in Rotterdam, also the host city for the Rotterdam Intl. Film Festival.

The City Council is said to be mulling over a restructuring of its film funding mechanism but the seven-member Film Funds board, in its resignation letter, requested the city appoint someone to oversee the fund until the cash is kicked in to keep the funds’ commitments going.

Rotterdam’s backing of film had spurred several Dutch film companies, including Blue Horse, to move their studios from the nation’s capital Amsterdam and its media center Hilversum to Rotterdam.

In addition to backing or granting loans to a number of new films lensed in Rotterdam — one of the latest is “Three Businessmen” by U.K. director Alex Cox (“Sid and Nancy”) — the fund also annually awards a best script prize of $25,000 and additional funding to the producer of the winning script to the tune of $35,000.

The cash for that annual prize, handed over in January concurrently with the Rotterdam Film Fest, is not endangered, according to a source inside the Film Funds, since it was included in the 1998 budget.

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