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IDFA International Documentary Festival Amsterdam


The 23rd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the world's largest and most prestigious film event devoted exclusively to non-fiction film and media, will run from 17 - 28 November in the city of Amsterdam.


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Documentary Subsidy Cutbacks In The Netherlands

Saturday, December 2----Despite the high profile given Dutch documentary films at this year's International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), and the apparently enthusiastic reaction from Amsterdam audiences, the Friday edition of the IDFA Dagkrant Daily reported that a crisis is looming. Correspondant Jorn Rossing Jensen reported that local documentary filmmaking has entered "a financial limbo", following the former government's budget cuts for the public broadcasters and the transition period before a new government is operational.

"We are facing a serious problem", Toine Berbers, managing director of the Nederlands Film Fund, stated. "There is no cabinet yet, following the recent elections, and until it has been formed, we will not know what attitude it will have to the situation."

The national agency in charge of supporting film and cinema is allocated 14 Million Euros by the Ministry of Culture, with an additional 5 Million Euros for market-oriented features with commercial value from the Ministry of Finance. About 2.5 Million Euros of the budget is dedicated to fueling documentary production.

"These days, the fund is supporting fewer documentaries than ever before. The severe government-imposed cuts on the broadcasters has meant that they have all reduced their investment in documentaries. This has left local filmmakers in a state of turmoil, since there are not many other sources they can tap into", Berbers explained. "There is no easy way out of the problem. The only resolution is that the government decides to increase public subsidy, to compensate for the missing television participation", Berbers concluded.

Dutch documentaries have had a high profile here at IDFA, with eight films being shown in and out of competition, including the world premiere of Festival opener 4 ELEMENTS , FORGOTTEN FOOLS (Frans van Erkeland) in the Silver Wolf Competition THE BATTLE OF JAVA SEA, directed by Nick Koppen, in the Reflecting Images section.

To have such a gloomy forecast for future Dutch documentary production in the midst of the critical and public success of IDFA is a wake-up call to the precarious financials that have always surrounded the documentary world, despite hype about its current renaissance. Local filmmakers are hopeful that they can lobby the government, but the recent election of a more conservative parliament could bring unwelcome news in the coming months.

For more information on the Dutch film scene, log on to: www.hollandfilm.nl


Sandy Mandelberger
Online Festival Dailies Editor

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