Details have finally emerged of how the Dutch government will continue to support the Hubert Bals Fund, with private investment playing a more key role than previously.
As previously reported in ScreenDaily, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs had agreed to continue its backing of HBF after fierce debate as to whether Foreign Aid money should be used to support culture based projects.
The Hubert Bals Fund is now confident of the government's commitment to continue to support the fund for the foreseeable future.
However it is now clear that the Ministry will provide no more than 50% of the total budget for the Fund. At present, it is responsible for around 60% of the Fund's budget.
In 2008 the total HBF budget in the same year was $1.3m (Euros 1m) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs subsidy was $796,000(Euros 625.000.
Should the festival manage to increase funding from other sources, it is conceivable that the total subsidy may go up. The risk is that if the level of private investment in the fund stays the same or decreases, the Government contribution will in effect shrink.
The new 50% ratio will not be introduced immediately. The fund will have a soft landing with a three year period where the level of government support will remain roughly on a par with the current 60%.
'We are reasonably happy with this,' Festival director Rutger Wolfson said of the Ministry's proposals. Wolfson, who was part of a festival delegation that met with Ministry representatives last month, expressed confidence that HBF will be able to attract extra funding from other sources.
The Hubert Bals Fund's other supporters include Hivos-NCDO Culture Foundation, the DOEN Foundation, Dioraphte Foundation and Dutch public broadcasting network NPS.
The festival is currently looking for a new head of the fund following the departure of former HBF boss Bianca Taal, who is taking up a job at Amsterdam's Binger FilmLab.
This year the Hubert Bals Fund celebrates its twentieth anniversary. Life On a String by Chen Kaige was the first film to receive funding from the Fund in 1989.