The Netherlands Film Fund today published its proposals for a new streamlined film policy for 2013 to 2016, introducing three funds.

Faced with a 25% cut in support (from €35.5 million to €26.5 million), the Fund is overhauling the way it tackles development and production funding.

The restructuring (announced on the final day of International Film Festival Rotterdam’s CineMart) is designed to lower bureaucratic costs. The aim is to ensure (as Fund director Doreen Boonekamp puts it) that the Fund “is as efficient and as flexible toward the film industry as possible.”

The new model – reminiscent of that embraced by the UK Film Council – is to set up three new funds/programmes.

  • New Screen NL, which has a proposed budget of €4 million, will be dedicated to “new talent, innovation and cinematic experiment from new and experienced filmmakers in all genres and for short (animation) films.
  • Screen NL for feature films, feature-length animation films, feature-length docs and international co-productions from filmmakers working on their third or subsequent film, has a proposed annual budget of €12 million
  • Screen NL Plus, is a matching scheme for movies targeting a mass audience. It has a proposed budget of € 8 million – a €.3.5 million reduction in the amount currently available through the Supplementary Fund (whose budget currently is €11.54).

In addition to funding for development and production, another €2.5 million is available for distribution, festival support and training.

Fund director Doreen Boonekamp [pictured] has confirmed that the film sector is still lobbying the Government to set up a soft money/tax rebate scheme and to sanction the setting up of a “cash flow fund” for during production.

One radical proposal is for slate funding for the “purchase and release of foreign arthouse movies.” This move comes in the wake of the recent news that Eye Film Institute (the other leading national film agency) has been obliged to withdraw from arthouse distribution.

In recent years, EYE has played a pivotal role in ensuring art house cinema remains available to Dutch audiences, picking up titles fro major festivals that other Dutch distributors haven’t been prepared to take a chance on (for example, Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse.) However, the Government has criticized its distribution activity, claiming that as EYE is a subsidised organization, this was false competition.

The Fund is also proposing a “bonus” for distributors of Dutch and arthouse fare based on the numbers of visitors they attract. Meanwhile, producers will be rewarded both for box-office success and for securing slots and prizes in major international festivals. 

The new policy document is published at a paradoxical time for the Dutch film industry. On the one hand, Dutch audience market share for its own films rose 6.5% from 15.88% in 2010 to 22.38% in 2011.

The total audience for Dutch films was over 6.8 million, a 52.16% surge on the 2010 figure of 4,475,760.

The proposals published today will now be submitted for approval to the Ministry of Culture. Boonekamp is urging the Government to react to the proposals quickly so a new structure can be put in place for 2013.