The establishment of a National Film Institute would go a long way to solving many of the problems of identity and organisation that currently bedevil the Dutch film industry. That at least is the conclusion of the Council For Culture, the Dutch government's highest ranking advisory committee on culture.
The Council argues that a National Film Institute would provide central guidance to the industry and better co-ordinate the many institutional and local film support systems which are currently dispersed across the country. It would also help raise the profile of the film industry within The Netherlands and abroad.
The National Film Institute's main objective would be to stimulate Dutch film culture. Specifically, the Council suggests that the Institute would become the focus of development, debate and reflection. It should also have branches for research, education and promotion.
Quite where an Institute would sit is more moot. The Council suggests that it could be built from a merging of existing institutions. The managing director of the Dutch Film Fund, Toine Berbers, has already shown some positive interest in the project. Rieks Hadders, managing director of the Filmmuseum, was much cooler towards it.
The proposal part of the consultation process that will lead to a government culture programme for 2005-2008. Drawing on the Council's recommendations, culture minister Medy Van der Laan is expected to present a more detailed policy proposal in November. Even if she is in favour, a National Film Institute is unlikely to become operational before 2009.