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Dutch fest fetes home-grown talent

'Unter Den Palmen' to kick off showcase

UTRECHT, the Netherlands — The Nederlands Film Festival opened the 19th edition of its annual showcase of film and TV talent Tuesday with Dutch filmers on a new and more commercial high as they prepared to honor the industry’s top talent over the next 10 days.

“Unter Den Palmen,” the Helmut Berger- and Thom Hoffman-starring pic, directed by Miriam Kruishoop (“Viva Elle”) opened the fest, which will unspool nearly 70 feature films and 249 documentaries, TV dramas and short pics. Fest hosts the premiere of 19 Dutch feature films, including transplanted Argentine director Nestor Sanz’s “Cross Fate.” Fest closes Oct. 1.

Top Dutch draw

The event is expected to pull in more than 60,000 visitors, award more than 200,000 guilders ($100,000) in prizes and host nearly 1,000 professionals from the industry.

In addition to awarding the Golden Calf, Holland’s version of the Oscar, to the industry’s top talent in a number of categories, including best film, the fest will hand out a special Golden Calf to director Paul Verhoeven and producer Rob Houwer for Best (Dutch) Film of the Century for the 1973 Dutch pic “Turkish Delight.”

The commercial sidebar Holland Film Meeting will not only showcase some 15 feature films to 15 prospective buyers from mainly around Europe, but for the first time will hold a co-production workshop in which Dutch filmers will be pitching current projects to, among others, industry heavyweights like Road Movies producer Ulrich Felsberg, DNA Films producer Duncan Kenworthy and Atlantic Pictures topper Bruce Weiss.

The fest comes at a time when more Dutch films than ever are either in development or are being lensed, the result of a recent tax incentive that has fired the imagination of the industry and drawn interest from foreign film producers, especially the U.S.