In advance of next month’s crucial Dutch Parliament decision on Dutch film financing, a wide ranging report from Oxford Economics has highlighted the importance of film and the audio-visual sector to the Dutch economy.

Three Ministries (Economic Affairs, Finance and Culture) are required to give their joint answer to the Dutch Parliament on how Dutch film should be supported by October 7 at the latest.

The report (published on Sunday) claims that the Dutch film and audio-visual sector provides some 32,300 direct jobs for the national economy. In doing so, it provides €1.7bn of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Dutch economy and generates some €730m in taxes.

Oxford Economics also states that the sector adds 33,400 jobs in its supply chain and the wider economy through induced effects. These indirect and induced jobs are estimated to generate an additional €1.9bn in GVA and €820m in taxes.

Such figures may suggest a buoyant industry. However, the report also makes clear just how much the sector is suffering as a result of public funding cuts.

In 2009, public funding accounted for 85% of total film funding. That total has fallen to 68% in 2012. The Netherlands Film Fund estimates that public funding will drop by 29% to €35.1 million in 2013, compared to €49.5m in 2009.
It is clear that opinion is strongly split over how best to boost the Dutch film sector, which has been suffering internationally because of its lack of a soft money scheme akin to the Belgian tax shelter and Luxembourg’s CIAV system or of regional film funds.

Speaking earlier this year, Culture Minister Jet Bussemaker [pictured] made it very clear that the Government feels the film sector is too dependent on public funding. “We have to find a way to increase the private money for the film industry,” the Minister commented.

By contrast, the Oxford Economics report points to the economic rewards the State could gather by supporting film more strongly.

“Our analysis points to a strong positive relationship between the level of state support and the health of the film and audio-visual sector, being indirectly supported through fiscal or economic measures or through direct support,” the Report states. “Generally speaking the higher the amount of support per capita the faster the sector has tended to grow in job terms. Similarly, the added benefit of a tax or financial incentive has the ability to attract capital, people and talent from across borders; stimulating employment growth.”

Senior figures within the Dutch film industry have given an enthusiastic response to the report. Many are saying it underlines the arguments that the sector have long been making to the Government, namely that the film and audio-visual industry is growing but that it needs public support.

“The Report supports the arguments that the film industry has put forward,” stated Doreen Boonekamp, Netherlands Film Fund CEO. “These are figures that are really interesting. It is good that you can really show the evidence that this a healthy and interesting industry to invest in, not only from an economic view but also from a cultural point of view.”

The report pdf is available in a link at the right of the article.

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