The Dutch film industry received a major boost last year with the introduction of the €20 million ($22.2 million)-a-year Netherlands Film Production Incentive.

Overseen by the Netherlands Film Fund, the country’s main film board, the incentive offers a 30% cash rebate on local spend for film productions in the country.

“The film fund has an outward-looking policy towards coproduction and makes a strong effort to stimulate both majority and minority Dutch co-productions,” says Netherlands Film Fund CEO Doreen Boonekamp.

Backed by the Ministry of Culture, the fund’s total 2015 funding budget is $54 million, with about $28 million slated for various funding initiatives, including the production incentive.

Boonekamp says of the 76 films produced in the Netherlands last year, 56, or 74%, were international co-productions.
The Netherlands’ efforts to support international collaborations have resulted in an increase of cross-border co-productions in recent years and received an additional boost with the introduction of the new production incentive scheme last year.

Nearly $22 million went into international co-productions last year through the incentive and other funding schemes, Boonekamp says.

“The launch of the Film Production Incentive in June 2014 helped account for two-thirds of the annual production volume in the second half of the year,” she says.

The total production volume of Dutch features reached $87.7 million in 2014 while the production volume of minority co-production rose to $49 million, she adds.

“International co-production is a strong tool to connect creative and technical talents from different countries in order to raise the quality level of productions,” Boonekamp points out, adding that it also “stimulates film productions to cross borders and reach out to international audiences and, of course, it helps getting projects financed.”

In March, the Film Production Incentive granted $5.37 million in support to 19 projects, including 13 international co-productions, 14 feature films and five documentaries, among them Martin Koolhoven’s “Brimstone,” with Robert Pattinson and Carice van Houten set to star.

The Netherlands Film Fund expects production spend in the country from the 19 projects to amount to nearly $25 million.
Supported productions include Rainer Sarnet’s Estonian drama “Jesus’ Blood and Red Currants”; David Keating’s horror pic “Cherry Tree,” produced by Dutch company House of Netherhorror and Ireland’s Fantastic Films; Sanne Vogel’s romantic comedy “Brasserie Valentijn”; and Pim van Hoeve’s “Dummie the Mummy and the Sphinx of Shakaba.”

The incentive is available to feature films with production budgets of at least $1.12 million and to feature-length documentaries with budgets of at least $280,000. Other requirements include a planned theatrical release and at least 50% of the production budget already in place. Local production spend must be at least $112,000 for a grant. Funding is capped at $1.12 million per project. There will be four rounds of financial support this year.

Most co-productions are with neighboring countries. Dutch producers enjoy strong ties with partners in Germany and Belgium as well as in Luxembourg, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Two minority Dutch co-productions are screening in Cannes this year: Greek helmer Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark romance “The Lobster (pictured above),” starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz and co-produced by Amsterdam-based Lemming Film, and César Acevedo’s Colombian drama “Land and Shade,” co-produced by Dutch shingle Topkapi Films.

Topkapi recently secured support from the Netherlands Film Fund and the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) in Belgium for two features, Mijke de Jong’s “Laila M,” which is co-produced by Menuet, and Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens’ “Kebab Royal,” co-produced with Bo Films.

As part of one of its international co-production initiatives, the Netherlands Film Fund and VAF support four majority Dutch and four majority Flemish feature films each year.

Other Dutch features and co-productions coming this year include Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Commune”; Whit Stillman’s “Love & Friendship”; Virgil Widrich’s “The Night of a Thousand Hours”; Mike van Diem’s “The Surprise”; Marleen Gorris’ “Tulips, Honour, Love and a Bike”; and Marion Hansel’s “En amont du fleuve.”