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Feb. 13, 2024

Dutch Films and Talents Look to Achieve Global Success

According to a study by London consultancy Olsberg SPI, Dutch films have been underperforming and failing to meet their full potential. One key reason mentioned was the underrepresentation of Dutch titles at the mainstream international festivals. By: Dylan Low

At 2024’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Sandra Den Hamer, interim CEO Netherlands Film Fund, highlighted her resolve to place Dutch cinema back in the international shop window.


“We would very much like to see our Dutch films more visible than they are,” she mentioned.


This objective means stronger promoting and strengthening connections with See NL, the company that globally advertises and spotlights Dutch films. It is currently helmed by Nathalie Mierop, who takes over from Ido Abram.


Den Hamer aims to reinforce the profile of the Holland Film Meeting, which happens during the Netherlands Film festival in Utrecht in September. The event gives international financiers, distributors and sales agents exposure to the best content in Dutch cinema. This would be the Dutch version of Unifrance's Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the longtime esteemed market and press junket for French films in Paris every January.


“Due to the pandemic and to budget reasons, there was not enough money to invite as many guests as all of us wanted,” claimed Den Hamer regarding the previous editions. “That’s one of the priorities for the future, to strengthen the international visibility of our films.”


There have been notions that Dutch films are once again attracting attention from festival selectors. At IFFR, Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil’s comedy horror Krazy House, featuring Nick Frost and Alicia Silverstone, will make its European debut following a global premiere in Sundance. Another film would be Mascha Halberstadt’s animated Fox And Hare Save The Forest, which premieres in the Berlinale next month. Urban Sales manages the title internationally.


The Dutch industry still remains in search of a director with projects featured at mainstream festivals. Despite that, Den Hamer remains positive of their filmmaking potential with the current projects in development.


“There is lots of talent in all categories working in the Netherlands,” she states. ”I am optimistic about the Dutch talent and the Dutch films coming up.”


These variety of names include – Mike Van Diem, the Oscar-winning director of 1997’s Character, is making a drama titled Voor Onze Meisjes with production house Keplerfilm. Martin Koolhoven is working on Emerald Butterfly, produced by Els Vandevorst through N279 Entertainment; Dutch Artist Renzo Martens also returns with a new film, The Dawn of The Post-Plantation.


Sacha Polak who is set to release her second film in the UK by BFI Distribution, currently is in early stages of a possible new project with the Fund. 


Dutch projects scheduled later into the year include David Verbeek’s The Wolf, the Fox and The Leopard, produced by Lemming Films. It is slated to screen at a major festival this year and could showcase at Cannes. Morgan Knibbe, known for his accomplishments in documentaries, is finalising his first fiction film, The Garden of Earthly Delights, produced by Baldr Films. Mees Peijnenburg, director of Paradise Drifters, recently acquired production backing for his new film Volcano.


With growing filmmaking potential, this could spark a notable turnaround for Dutch film content as they continue building on their success as a reputable name in the industry.


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