Binger Filmlab may have lost its Government funding (once worth €1.8m a year) but the Amsterdam-based film training and development centre is still as active as ever.
The resilient Binger CEO Gamila Ylstra has been striking a defiant note about the future of Binger, which has changed its financing model since it lost its Ministry Of Culture subsidy. Binger is currently operating on roughly half its former budget.
“We have been able to cut costs dramatically just by working a bit efficiently than before,” Ylstra noted.
“The subsidy stopped more than a year ago. It has not been easy, of course, but I think we’ve done a better Binger year than ever before.”
At the International Film Festival Rotterdam this week, Binger has announced details of a new partnership with Rio de Janeiro’s State Secretariat of Culture. Through the partnership, the Rio cultural body will pay fees for Brazilian writers and directors chosen to take part in Binger Labs.
Meanwhile, Binger has started hosting “commissioned” labs. One of the first was “Trailerpark”, an initiative which EYE and the Association of Dutch Distributors to improve the quality of trailers in the Netherlands.
In the wake of the programme, a new Dutch trailer company, Spark, was launched.
At the same time, the cost of participation in the labs has risen. It is now €6,500 for four and a half months.
Binger will soon be looking to the MEDIA Programme’s Creative Europe programme for support.
One idea is to begin working on project development, perhaps in collaboration with a producer. Ylstra is also optimistic that the Dutch Government may resume its support of Binger.
“At a political level, the Government is making a turnaround, saying talent development and internationalization are priorities.”
Binger’s writers’ lab, which runs from October until late January, has been recruiting new advisors, among them script editor Kate Leys and award winning writer Tony Grisoni.
“What has changed is that we expect people to have at least first draft scripts when they come into the Lab.”
Renowned US indie producer Ted Hope is due to attend Binger’s early summer event on Digital Filmmaking, which is now planed for early June.
As ever, Binger participants are in Rotterdam in force. For example, Elisa Miller, who took part in the 2010 Writers Lab, is presenting her new film, About Sarah, a doc featuring British artist Sarah Lucas.
Five selected projects from Boost will be attending the Rotterdam Lab and CineMart. As a part of their Boost! trajectory, these filmmakers will receive project development sessions at Binger Filmlab.
In the short term, Binger is skipping the next Director’s Lab in order to consolidate its funding and planning for the rest of the year.
“I am inspired that we managed to jump over this ditch,” Ylstra said of Binger’s restructuring.
“As far as the Government is concerned, my expectation is that at some point we will be sitting at the table again to discuss how such a unique organization as Binger should always be part of the Dutch film infrastructure.”