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Dutch homegrown pix grabbing auds

Local fare sees leap in territory's total market share

AMSTERDAM — Dutch film is increasingly wooing audiences previously shy of or actually turned off to homegrown pics.

In the first half year, homegrown pics took 11.9% of the total market share in the territory, or 1.5 million admissions out of a total admissions of 12.5 million for all films.

That’s up from 9.6% in 2001, 10.6% in 2002, and a major leap from earlier years. In 1994, as an example, Dutch film reached a low point when it took a miserable .6% of the market share.

The trend toward homegrown is continuing into the second half of the year: admissions to Dutch films since the beginning of July has climbed to 570,000.

Up until 2000, one big hit might have taken credit for bringing in much of the home grown market share, but since 2001, says Jan Ott, secretary general of the Dutch Federation for Cinematography, “The success is spread over more titles, and across several different genres.”

Top pic so far this year in terms of admissions is Maria Peters “Peter Bell,” which opened in November of last year and has brought in some 820,000 admissions in the first half year 2003, with Ben Sombogaart’s “Twin Sisters” running second at 610,000 admissions in the same time period. “Twin Sisters” is also Holland’s pic for the Oscar nomination for best foreign film.

The rising interest by the Dutch public is being put down to a new crop of directors like Robert-Jan Westdijk, whose latest film “Phileine Says Sorry” will open the Dutch Film Festival September 24, and new dosh in the form of Dutch tax incentive scheme which has seen some rocky days but still has helped crank out a number of pics that would not have been made had it not been in place.

It’s also being credited to a new viewing public which is young, has been spoon fed commercial TV most of their lives and wants to see films that have commercial as well as artistic appeal.