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Dutch film biz seeks continued tax break

Current scheme to end January 2004

UTRECHT — More than 150 leaders from the Dutch film industry issued strong pleas for continuity in the controversial Dutch tax break scheme on Sunday.

The call came at a confab that was part of the Dutch Film Festival’s three-day sidebar event, Holland Film Meeting, which presents local films to international buyers, investors and co-producers.

The tax scheme, which expires January 2004, changed three times in as many years and uncertainty surrounding its status last year made producers so nervous that production nearly halted.

Industryites handed down a series of proposals, all urging the new, right-leaning government to continue to support local film.

Hans de Weers, president of Egmond Film & TV and the producer of the Oscar-winning Marleen Gorris film “Antonia’s Line,” called for more dosh for production houses. “We have to build the production houses up, and we can’t do it when films are funded script-by-script in a piecemeal fashion,” he told Daily Variety.

Filmers also asked for more consistency from pubcasters in support schemes. Under the COBO co-production fund for broadcasters, pubcasters can support as many as 20 films a year, noted COBO director Jeanine Hage, “but then again we might not. The producers need more consistency.”

The meet was capped by the Variety Cinema Militans Lecture 2002, in which Indian director Mira Nair, citing the terrorist attacks on the U.S., called for authenticity and distinctiveness in cinema. Nair challenged filmers to produce a cinema “that illuminates (a) common understanding, that destabilizes the dull competence of most of what is produced.”

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