Dutch Film Meeting opens int’l doors

Producers eye expansion to include European projects

UTRECHT — 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, will include films from Belgium and Luxembourg. The screenings bring 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, notes local and international producers wanted to expand it to include projects from across Europe. 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 also delivered as part of the Film Meeting. The lecturer, expected to be announced next month, will follow in the footsteps of noted filmers including Mira Nair (2002) and Tom Tykwer (2001)

The Film Meetings have in the past two years included an often heated gathering of professionals across the Dutch film industry 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 scheme credited with helping Dutch films take 10% of the box office over the last two years.

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