Martin Koolhoven's The Cave (De Grot) is to open this year's Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht.

This is the second year running that the festival, this year celebrating its 21st edition, has chosen a film by a young local director to kick off proceedings. Last time out, the festival opened with Erik de Bruyn's feature debut Wild Mussels.

Produced by Amsterdam outfit Get Reel - co-producers of this year's Belgian foreign language Oscar nomination Everybody Famous - The Cave's $3.1m (Euros3.65m) budget was partly provided by private investors. But the project also benefited from a rare, direct contribution by the Dutch Ministry of Culture. According to producer Volkert Struycken, there has already been some interest in the film from Germany.

Koolhoven's TV production Suzy Q picked up two awards in Utrecht in 1999. His feature debut AmnesiA premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam last January.