On the eve of the 24th Holland Film Meeting the event’s new director Signe Zeilich-Jensen was in optimistic mood as she assessed the four days of pitching, workshopping and networking to come. The Meeting this year will include an augmented 20-project Netherlands Production Platform (NPP) programme, a Binger-Screen interview with the much-lauded cinematographer Chris Doyle and an examination of the Scandinavian production and funding scene along with key Nordic producers and funding chiefs. A series of key industry workshop events completes the Meeting line-up.
“It’s very exciting for me. Together with the team I am confident that we are offering the international guests a very interesting and enticing programme,” Zeilich-Jensen told the HFM daily.
The 2011 NPP selection is more varied than in year’s past and includes two ambitious animated projects – the home-grown HEINZ(BosBros) and the Danish OUR HOUSE (Zentropa) – a transmedia project, the German CULTURE FILES, and THE JOURNEY, a documentary from Amsterdam-based IDTV Docs. Project budgets range from the low (€480,000 for the Turkish coming-of-age project The Blue Wave) to the relatively high (€8.12 million for the Norwegian WWII drama THERESIENSTADT REQUIEM) and the pitching producers represent some of Europe and the Netherlands’ leading production entities, such as Zentropa, Filmkameratene (Norway), Eyeworks (The Netherlands), Marion Hänsel’s Man’s Films (Belgium) and Sweden’s HeppFilm.
“I think that the model with the pitches, the round tables and the individual meetings is very positive within the very special venue of the Karel V, that is both close to the festival but which also works as a quiet place where you can focus on projects and producers that you want to see,” continued Zeilich-Jensen. “That is a real asset, it is very special. The uniqueness and the relevance of the Platform depends a lot on the people who are coming, so for us it’s important to get a very interesting and dynamic mix. It’s not just about making a programme, it’s about who is there. That is the art of a good co-production market.”
Hailing from Sweden, it seems appropriate that at her first HFM Zeilich-Jensen should train the spotlight on the production and finance mechanisms in Scandinavia. Today (22 September) Screen International’s Mike Goodridge and HFM stalwart Nick Roddick will moderate sessions during which the great and the good of the Nordic funding, production and distribution sectors will discuss their modus operandi and then elaborate on the potential for co-operation with their Dutch counterparts. HFM guests can also attend a case study on Urszula Antoniak’s CODE BLUE, co-produced with Zentropa, and this evening the Swedish Embassy will host an opening cocktail in association with the Eye Film Institute Netherlands.
The Scandinavian link was forged in August when four Dutch projects were selected for the New Nordic Films co-pro market in Haugesund. Utrecht reciprocated with the selection of five Nordic projects at NPP 2011. “This was a very interesting development on which we would like to elaborate in future years,” said Zeilich-Jensen. “Like with the Holland Film Meeting there are places in Europe which have a very strong connection with their local industry, such as Haugesund that has very strong links with the Scandinavian producers. That made it a very valuable experience for the Dutch producers who attended.”
The Dutch project METRO straddles both co-pro markets and producer Trent is actively considering a Copenhagen, Gothenburg or Stockholm shoot after his Haugesund experience. “I think that the fit with Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands works very well because we have so many cultural similarities,” he points out. “There is a lot of the same humour and the same directness – and we are all sort of neutral, innocent countries. It would be very interesting, not just for me but for more Dutch producers, to work closely with Scandinavian producers in the future.”