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Holland Film Meeting 2021, and the winners are…

The prizes of the online Holland Film Market, the professional arm of the Netherlands Film Festival, were handed out October 2. In total 23 highly promising new projects were presented within the Boost NL, Stories and Beyond and New Dutch categories to hundreds of potential funders, sales agents, distributors and production companies from across the globe. As one of Europe’s must attend international exchange platforms for professional collaboration and creative development, the HFM creates a vital bridge between the Dutch and international film industries.

The NFF Script Development Awardwent to the project Lost Songs of Distant Realms by Kiro Russo, Bolivia (Boost NL)

In the film, the third part of Kiro Russo’s mining trilogy, the adolescent Nina falls in love with a girl at school, which leads her father Charque, a Satanist miner, to questions his long-held beliefs.

Citation: “The jury believes this project can best benefit from the award in this early stage of development, and would like to support this truly original story and cinematographic approach. In recognition of its bold idiosyncratic drive to challenge the language and borders of cinema, the jury has decided to award the third part of a trilogy that was strikingly presented by the director in an original and stimulating pitch.”

Special mentions were given to Flat Girls (Thailand, Boost NL) by writer-director Jirassaya Wongsutin; Chance Encounters (France/The Netherlands, Stories & Beyond) by South African Naomi van Niekerk from South Africa, and Show Up by Andrew Brukman (South Africa, Stories & Beyond).

During the Boost NL programme Kiro commented: “BoostNL is the most profound and detailed development programme I have ever participated in. It's always pushing you to advance and to improve. It was amazing to have meetings with people very much related to the project and with the ideas that we need to follow up with, and to hear different points of view from specialists in areas that are very related to our project. It's going to make the project grow and be more clear from many angles.”

The Camalot/Filmmore Emerging Cinema Award was won by Jirassaya Wongsutin for Flat Girls (Thailand/Singapore, Boost NL). The film is produced by Pom Bunsermvicha and Noorahaya Lahtee.

In Flat Girls, Jane is the daughter of a police sergeant. She has lived in the same block of subsidised government housing since birth. Following the death of her father, Jane and her mother must prepare to leave. As their moving date approaches, Jane reflects on a youth spent within the confines of the police flats. Memories surface from her past as a chubby-cheeked high school student still questioning her sexuality. These memories bring past secrets to light.

Jury citation: “We are all very taken by the originality of the arena and the cinematic quality of it. The coming-of-age story deals with loss, corruption and queer aspects with a surprisingly light touch. The pitch drew us in straight away and convinced us of the clear chemistry and professionality within the team.”

Special mentions were given to the feature animation Galeo of the Sea Walkers (Indonesia, Stories & Beyond) by Andra Fembriarto, and the Brazilian Nightsong by Maya Da-Rin (Boost NL).

The Works-in-Progress Award, sponsored by Intermission Film, went to Show UP by Andrew Brukman (South Africa, Stories & Beyond).

The film logline reads: Queens of their own South African desert, a queer performance ensemble go on a road-trip to help shine a light on the extreme violence suffered by our LGBTI community.

The jury recognised “a personal and above all urgent story with charismatic and vibrant characters that we all want to discover. There is a clear global audience here and we wanted to provide a platform to help this powerful story get told.”

Runner-up was Galeo of the Seawalkers (Indonesia, Stories & Beyond) by Andra Fembriarto, and two special mentions were given for Plantation Wildlust by Hesdy Lonwijk (Netherlands/Belgium/Suriname, Stories & Beyond) and Shiny New World by Jan van Gorkum (Netherlands, Stories & Beyond).

“The Works-in-Progress Award is a massive boost for our film project "Show UP" and affirmation of the importance for urgent queer storytelling around the globe and in South Africa,” enthused Andrew after the HFM closing ceremony. “With all the amazing feedback and interest we received at the Netherlands Film Festival, the €10,000 for marketing and post-production sponsored by Intermission Films will go a long way in showing our partners that when this film is finished we have a strategic plan to make sure it reaches the widest possible audience. By making this film, we are giving a voice to a community and its people who experience extreme violence everyday while celebrating the unique energy and love we bring to the world. Power to the Queers!”

The HFM Market Potential Award went to the Boost NL project Flat Girls by Jirassaya Wongsutin (Thailand/Singapore, produced by Pom Bunsermvicha and Noorahaya Lahtee).

The jury felt that the winning team “delivered a beautifully presented marketing strategy for an intimate human story. We particularly commended their work on audiences and the strong local and international positioning for the film. The winning film will not only be a festival darling but will also certainly have a strong impact on the audiences that will be lucky enough to see it.”

"Receiving the HFM Market Potential Award was very reassuring to me. I always thought of Flat Girls as a personal story, but this award has proven otherwise: that the coming-of-age story can resonate with audiences worldwide, regardless of which part of the world you grow up in. The story of Flat Girls transcends boundaries and connects us with each other, and that is the beauty and magic of cinema,” said director Jirassaya of her highly successful Holland Film Meeting.

“I am very excited to receive the Cam-a-Lot & Filmmore Emerging Cinema Award, as it ensures that the film will be accomplished with the highest quality. I believe that the opportunity to work with the leading post-production house in The Netherlands will significantly enhance the storytelling of the film. I very much look forward to bringing the film to life in collaboration with the talented international team.”

“Lastly, receiving the Special Mention for the NFF Script Development Award was very heartening. Writing a script for my first feature film has not been an easy task. It is such a demanding and solitary undertaking that, on some days, I felt on the verge of giving up. This award, however, has given me the confidence to push through, to finish writing a story that is very dear to me and finally share it through my film," she added.

The HFM Market Potential Award jury awarded a Special Mention to Show Upby Andrew Brukman (South Africa, Stories & Beyond). The jury said how, “the team delivered a sparkling presentation, with a visual identity that brings a powerful emotional connection to the story. The jury felt covered in glitter after discovering this film and its strategy and we know the audience will feel exactly the same!”

Written by Nick Cunningham

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