Bureaucracy may have killed off The Netherlands' attractions for foreign producers and potential film investors alike.

The famously lucrative tax credit system which allowed production investors to shelter their income and avoid capital taxes was put on temporary hold this July when the tax authorities decided to review the system yet again.

The fiscal authorities have now reopened the doors. But it is not the tighter new regulations that are turning producers off. Instead, it is an almost impossible timetable.

In the last weeks of October, Senter, a government-sponsored project assessment office, gave the greenlight to half the 40 film scripts that had been submitted before July's hiatus. They will potentially share some Euros10.5m of tax allowances - on condition that they move into production before 31 December.

That gives producers' financial intermediaries very little chance to pitch to investors. As for producers, they have little time to crank up their productions. 'Producers had to keep casts and crews committed while they waited for a ruling on tax approval,' said Gamila Ylstra, of specialist financier Film Investors Netherlands (FINE).

'It is impossible that all the films approved will be able to use their approvals this year,' said Claudia Landsberger, head of national film promo agency Holland Film.

One of the few that will be able to is Science Fiction, a children's film directed by Julien Vrebos, that got underway on Friday. Set up as a Dutch-Luxembourg-UK co-production it cleverly taxes advantages of tax breaks in all three countries.