Three changes in as many years to the Dutch system of tax breaks for the film industry have resulted in a reduction in the volume of local productions to an average of less than half that of just a year ago. Now a new version, incorporating improvements, is being readied for 2002
Compared to 2000's peak of $80m, the current level of production spending has plummeted to between $20m and $24m. The Netherlands Federation of Film Professionals has asked the national government for an independent investigation.
As recently as September, the insecurity surrounding the tax system prompted Jeanine Hage, from the co-production fund CoBo, to warn Dutch vice-minister for culture, Rick van der Ploeg that "next year, The Dutch film festival can show all local productions in three days".
Production investment had already slowed to a trickle a year ago and since then further amendments to the tax system (requiring producers to secure an additional 20% of a film's budget before qualifying for tax breaks) and the early exhaustion of the Dutch Film Fund's budget for supporting tax-funded films, have further disrupted production activity.
The positive developments emerging from the tax scheme which was introduced in 1999 in Holland, including infrastructure improvements as well as increased wages, have proved to be expensive and risky adventures for the Dutch film industry. The investment made in production facilities is said to be more than $9.2m, while turnover is less than half of what was expected when the tax breaks were introduced.