Dutch fest sidebar widens

Event draws int'l buyers, investors, co-producers

UTRECHT, Netherlands — The Dutch Film Festival’s often feisty sidebar Holland Film Meeting is expanding its co-production platform to include projects from across Europe.

The four-day Film Meeting, which traditionally screens Dutch films, brings in a raft of international buyers, film investors and co-producers, with some 70% of the projects walking away with financing each year.

The Dutch Film Festival runs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 in Utrecht.

Ellis Driessen, managing director of the Film Meeting, said local and international producers wanted to expand it but said all projects pitched must have some Dutch element to it.

“We need to talk less about specific Dutch cinema,” she said. “The countries are all connected in the new Europe. On the other hand, Dutch stories and Dutch issues can have universal appeal.”

The Variety Cinema Militans Lecture on the state of the industry is part of the Film Meeting. The lecturer, expected to be announced next month, will follow in the footsteps of filmmakers such as Mira Nair and Tom Tykwer.

The Film Meetings have in the past two years included an often heated gathering of Dutch film professionals with government officials and ministers handling film policy, and this year is expected to be no exception.

The Dutch tax-incentive scheme expires at the end of 2003 and, with no sign of anything to replace it, many in the film community believe it could be the end of the line for a tax break credited with helping Dutch films take 10% of the box office over the last two years.

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