SEE NL #18

Page 4

Co-pro agreement

Cross-border accord Co-production treaties are notoriously tricky to negotiate and ratify. There is a huge amount of pen pushing and bureaucracy behind them - and then you have to coordinate the diaries of the Ministers involved so that they are both available to sign the treaty documents and plan the event with the embassies. But all being well, the Dutch-German treaty will be launched at this year’s Berlinale, writes Geoffrey Macnab. Speaking in early January 2015, Doreen Boonekamp, CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund, sounded optimistic that that the treaty would finally be signed on the Saturday midway through Berlin. “All the signs look good,” Boonekamp says. “These kind of treaties take a long time!” The Film Fund boss also makes it very clear that the ties between the Dutch and German film industries are drawing ever closer and that the Dutch will be a major presence at this year’s Berlin. One new initiative that will be announced formally during the festival is a cross-border development fund. The Netherlands Film Fund is partnering on this in the first instance with Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM). The aim is to support the development of original children’s films at an early stage. “That was something that

came up as a plan while (we) were working on this (Dutch-German) agreement,” Boonekamp explains. “We have done several coproductions on children’s films with Germany. They, on their side, have been designing national policy in collaboration with all the regional funds for stimulating their children’s films.”

collaboration to be set up at a much earlier stage,” comments Boonekamp.

MDM’s executive director Manfred Schmidt is in accord. “With the new fund we want to join forces and foster the collaboration between Dutch and German film professionals in their joint efforts to develop exciting and charming children film stories,” he outlines. “Stories that will find their audience in both countries and beyond.”

Boonekamp came up with the idea for the new development fund. At recent festivals, Monique Ruinen, one of the Film Fund’s feature film consultants and a specialist in youth film, has been sounding out colleagues to assess the enthusiasm for such a scheme. The response was positive. MDM, which has already been involved in several Dutch co-productions, was a natural partner. The first application round is likely to be spring 2015. It is envisaged that if the pilot projects go well, further money will be invested in the scheme in the future.

What’s unusual about the new initiative - which other regional funds may also later join - is that it is focused on the development of children’s movies. Both the Dutch and the Germans excel at “youth” movies and have worked successfully together in the past on numerous projects. The difference with the new fund is that they will be partnering at the very inception of new projects. In doing so, they are responding to the wishes of the producers themselves. “When we co-produce between two countries, usually, the funding comes in during the production phase. What we really wanted to do was to push the creative

When they finally go into production, the aim is for supported films to be distributed in both countries. The initial investment is relatively low - both the Dutch Fund and the MDM are putting in €50,000.

Meanwhile, Boonekamp is heartened that there is already strong evidence of “much more international interest to collaborate with the Netherlands” since the introduction last year of the country’s long awaited new cash rebate. “The incentive also gave an extra impulse for co-production between the surrounding countries - including Germany,” she stresses.

‘We want to set up the collaboration at a much earlier stage’

Still: Surprise by Mike van Diem, a Dutch-German co-production



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