Less Government Financial Incentives Available for Filmmaking in the Netherlands, BUT Dutch Supermarkets Offer a Special "Two For One" Ticket Offer.

(June 2003)

  • It looks like sad days ahead for the Dutch film making arena. The (latest) newly operating government in Holland has announced its plans to cancel provisions that had been put into operation for the past few years (to assist filmmaking and promote the national cinematic product) as of January 1st, 2004. (In effect, this means that any new projects will not be able to draw upon further financial resources since all projects to be assisted have already been decided upon some time ago.) In connection with the government's policy determining cutbacks in the arts, this decisive blow will most likely impede as well as diminish the potential of further films from Dutch soil grabbing a more solid foundation on widespread international grounds.

    One could even say it is incredibly unfortunate when reflecting that the Netherlands have been nominated for several Oscars® in recent years and actually won three of them. The winning of Fons Rademakers' "De Aanslag" ("The Assault") in 1986 (as well as taking the Golden Globe) was followed in more recent years by winners Marleen Gorris' "Antonia" ("Antonia's Line" - Oscar® 1996) and Mike van Diem's "Karakter" ("Character" - Oscar® 1998). And, in the even more recent past, Pieter Verhoeff's beautiful "Nynke" and Paula van der Oest's "Zus en Zo" were also submitted, but, unfortunately, missed capturing this international award by a hair's breadth (Van der Oest's film was a finalist in this year's competition and Verhoeff's film, although failing to take the award in 2002, has recently been both lauded and applauded by the residents of Texas). Undoubtedly, the announcement of this sorry financial situation, made last month in the Netherlands, will probably mean the future holds an unwanted decline in store as far as the growing quality of an already struggling artistic form is concerned.

    These new political developments seem to bring a sudden halt to the hopeful message delivered about five years ago by Secretary of State for Education, Culture, and Science ("O,C and W") Nuis when he elucidated, during the first Dutch Film Day event at the Tuschinski Cinema in The Hague, on the recognition of film by the government as a marketable commodity and the envisionment of its potential for growing into a financially viable art form from which the country could derive not only pride, but also prosperity. This was a message of promise well received by artists and producers in this country, but now, half a decade later, both hope and good will are being swiftly and simultaneously eliminated from the same breeding ground. In short, it looks like the visual development of the cinema is destined to be held back because of the government's lack of vision.

  • Holland once again has a two-for-one cinema ticket offer valid from June 2nd through 15th whenever the ticket purchase is accompanied by an Albert Heijn coupon, available to customers each time a purchase of 25 Euro or more is made in one of their supermarkets. Albert Heijn and Procter & Gamble, as well as the film- en cinema business, have joined together to make this offer possible. Films being screened are handily listed in the free film magazine "Preview" available at most cinemas. The action, which is taking place for the third year, is partially accredited for the two million attendants at cinemas nationwide during the month of June last year, a month which, in Holland, usually has the lowest attendance throughout the year. Of course, it didn't do any damage to Albert Heijn's sales' records during the month of June the past two years either.

  • Music Month begins at the DocuZone (program of documentary films regularly screened at the Rialto Cinema in Amsterdam and select cinemas throughout Holland) on May 28th (which, naturally means that most of it will be taking place in June). Films screened include: >>> Knut Erik Jensen's "Cool & Crazy" (a choral portrait of men aged between 29 and 96 singing Norwegian hymns and the whistling winds surrounding them), >>> Bruce Sinofsky's "Good Rockin' Tonight" (in which top muscians such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Sonny Burgess reminisce about their experiences with Sun Records while top artists from a later date, such as Mark Knopfler and Paul McCartney play covers from the fifties), and >>> Jeroen Berkvens' "A Skin too Few" (an investigation into the life of talented singer and songwriter Nick Drake, who died in 1974 at the age of 26 and, though few may remember him well, created music that proved to be an important influence on groups such as REM and Radiohead. (TGH has already seen this last documentary previously and can hightly recommend it both as informative film and fascinating portrait). Further information available at www.docuzone.nl.

  • The 16th annual World Children's Festival (www.wereldkinderfestival.nl), which began on May 24th, will run until June 29th. Amongst many Dutch children's groups there will also be performances by two groups from abroad. One of these is the dance group "Daymokhk" from Grozny in Checnye who have already achieved notices for their starring role in Jos de Putter's documentary "Dans, Grozny, Dans" ("The Damned and the Sacred"). This film, which opens in Dutch cinemas on June 12th, has already been awarded the prize for Best Documentary at the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival in March of this year. (More information regarding this film and award is available at www.chicagodocfestival.org). De Putter's film shows this group of young dancers as their bus transports them throughout Europe for performances in London, Warsaw, Amsterdam, and Krakow. It is the moving portrait of a youthful generation trying to come to terms with the war that has devastated their country while expressing themselves through the medium of dance. The film switches back and forth in sharp contrast between derelict houses and other remnants of war to the performances of dancing children in brightly colored costumes. Under the direction of choreographer and dance teacher Ramzan Achmadov (previously a lead dancer with the Chechnyan National Ballet) this group will be also be appearing live between May 31st and June 22nd at various locations throughout Holland. Their final stage performance in the Netherlands will take place in the "Oosterpark" in Amsterdam during the Holland Festival on Sunday, June 22nd at 1 PM. Various dates and locations include:

    Wednesday, June 4thDe Kemphaan, Almere - 14.30
    Thursday, June 5thTheater De Regentes, Den Haag - 19.00
    Monday, June 9thDe Prinsentuin, Leeuwarden - 14.00
    Friday, June 13thTheater De Veste, Delft - 19.00
    Sunday, June 15thMuziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht - 14.00
    Thursday, June 19thDe Oosterpoort, Groningen - 19.00
    Friday, June 20thDe Flint, Amersfoort - 19.00
    Sunday, June 22ndHet Oosterpark, Amsterdam - 13.00

  • Evert de Beijer's computer animation "Car Craze" will compete in the Annecy Interational Animation Film Festival which takes place in France between June 2nd and 7th. The story involves a milieu inspector who becomes unexpectedly trapped in an industrial city dominated by monstrous automobiles. He finds little rest during his short stay in a motel, especially when he discovers that cars are rapidly evolving into parasitic life forms which are busy sucking vital juices out of the earth.

    Tim Oliehoek (NFTVA) was selected earlier this year amongst 38 entries (from 25 countries) as one of the five finalists for the 30th Student Academy Awards® "Honorary Foreign Film Award" for "The Champ", but unfortunately lost the prize to Florian Baxmeyer from the University of Hamburg in Germany for "The Red Jacket." Dutch director Mike van Diem, whose feature film "Karakter" won the 1998 Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film was a previous winner of this student award in 1990 for his film "Alaska."

  • The MIR (Micro Gravity Interdisciplinary Research Seminar) will gake place on Sunday June 22nd and Monday June 23rd from 10 AM to 6 PM at V2_, Eendrachtsstraat 10 in Rotterdam.

    Recently V2_ (Institute for the Unstable Media) co-organized a series of parabolic flights and activities at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia. Results, research and projects of the participating artists and scientists of these flights will be unveiled at a presentation and a seminar during the Architecture Biennial 2003. The ideas and experiences among experts from various disciplines will be shared and the relevance of these experiences will be further discussed under the working title of "disembodiment versus physicality in virtual reality". V2_ now approaches outer space with its unique conditions such as the variations in the force of gravity for the first time from an artistic and cultural point of view.

    The experience of altered gravity puts a new emphasis on the position of the human body with relation to technology. The seminar will focus on parallels and scenarios for such new physical experiences by examining the variable conditions of micro gravity and virtual reality and their effect upon our perception and body language. The participants will be encouraged to rethink their own sense of embodiment within mediated spaces and mixed realities. The seminar aims to generate new insights for the next generation of virtual reality based upon tactile experience and aesthetic perception rather than that of simulation and the representation of our daily physical environment. The list of speakers includes a mind-boggling number of professionals at home in this area. Too many to list here, if you want all the details, you'll have to check out the website at www.v2.nl. Let it be sufficiently tantalizing to say that the producers of the event, besides V2_ (NL), include Partners & Support: The Arts Catalyst, the science-art agency (GB), Leonardo/Olats, The Leonardo Observatory for the Arts and Techno-Sciences (USA/F), Multimedia Complex of Actual Arts (RUS), Projekt Atol (SLO), the European Community, International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam (NL), Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Ad!dict Creative Lab (B). That list alone should lead your curiosity to pursue the list of specialists on your own.

    Registration for attendance at this seminar is requested by the organizers and contact can be readily made at workshop@v2.nl. If you can't make it there in person (e.g., you won't be in the Netherlands at the time), the seminar will also be broadcast live on the V2 website, which offers the opportunity to participate from other locations. URL: www.v2.nl/live.

  • The Filmjaarboek 2002 (Dutch Film Annual 2002) has recently made its appearance on the shelves of Dutch bookshops. The presentation of the first copies to actresses Miryanna van Reeden ("Liever Verliefd"), Chris Tates ("Wodka Lime") and director Pim van Hoeve ("Liever Verliefd") took place at the Lux cinema in Nijmegen last month. With a scope toward more international prominence, an analysis of Paul Thomas Anderson's work by journalist Remke de Lange (from the Dutch newspaper "Trouw") is intended as the first of a series of portraits to be included during the coming years. There are also articles on the success of the family film in Holland by ex-Cinekid (Festival) programmer Harry Peters and an analysis of fiscal measures for incentives toward filmmaking by Hans Hoes, editor for the "Financieele Dagblad" as well as a review of the cinematic year 2002 by "Filmkrant" columnist and publisher Jan Heijs.

  • The 3rd Arab Film Festival will be taking place in Rotterdam from June 11th through 22nd. Further information available at www.arabfilmfestival.nl.

  • The Festival of the Spanish Film, which recentlly had its first biannual event at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, was a great success. More than 1600 people attended this initial festival and frequently discovered that many screenings had been already been completely sold-out. Amongst the films which will receive a wider release in Holland this year are Ramn Salazar's "Piedras" (nominated earlier this year for the Golden Bear in Berlin), Fernando Len de Aranoa's "Los Lunes al Sol", Agusti Villaronga's, Isaac P. Racine's and Lydia Zimmermann's "Aro Tolbukhin, en La Mente del Asesino". Director Salazar, whose wonderful, humorous, and fascinating film will be distributed on July 17th, was also present as special guest during the festival. Those of you who missed it will have to wait until 2005 for the next series of Cinema Espaņol. Hasta la vista, baby!

  • A retrospective of 19 films made by Joris Ivens will take place during the next few weeks at the "Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie" (one of the three largest science museums in the world) in "Parc de la Villette" in Paris. This follows upon the retrospectives that recently took place in the US, Canada, Turin, Prague and Gyr (see TGH Buzz for March 2002 and December 2001). The Parisian event will kick off on Friday, June 6th with a discussion by Ivens' widow and film partner Marceline Loridan-Ivens. For further information, please visit the European Joris Ivens Foundation website at: www.ivens.nl.

  • "Everest", now being screened at the Omniversum cinema in The Hague, has become the best attended IMAX documentary to date (on a worldwide scale). Since its premiere in 1998, it has been shown in 243 IMAX theaters in 235 cities across 6 continents, bringing in a total of \$120 million at the box office. May 29th was the 50th anniversary of the first scaling of the 8,850 meter high mountaintop by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. Obviously, the heaviest camera ever brought onto the mountain was carried up the location for the making of this film. Quite an accomplishment in itself. For all those interested in scaling new heights: www.omniversum.nl.

  • "Wings," the first film to win the Oscar® for Best Picture (on May 16, 1929), will be screened as part of the New York component of the Academy's 75th anniversary celebration "Monday Nights with Oscar" on June 2, at 7:30 p.m. with live musical accompaniment (by silent film pianist and composer Stuart Oderman) at the Ames Theater, the Academy's New York screening facility. The new color-tinted print of this film, a World War I drama starring Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers and Richard Arlen, comes to the screen as part of the 18-month celebration of the Academy's 75th anniversary. Home movie footage of Paramount's leading stars from that era, shot to celebrate silent star Mary Brian's birthday and preserved by the Academy Film Archive from the Anthony Slide collection, also will be featured along with other surprises during the evening.

  • Men of Steel just ain't what they used to be. It looks as if the possibility of Josh Hartnett playing the title role in "Superman" (2005) is no longer in the cards. Rumor has it that he would have had to sign a three-movie deal and was not prepared to make that extensive a committment to wearing the red and blue tights. Not only is that a great disappointment o many who appreciate the ever growing talents of Hartnett, but were anxiously looking forward to his first role as a superhero. (Latest reports, having lost first choice Hartnett, have it that Brendan Fraser, Paul Walker, or Matthew Bomer may now take the lead). The nefarious dilemmas starting to surround this production would seem to demand the cunning planning of Lex Luthor. Now, on top of everthing else there has been a falling out between producer John Peters and director Brett Ratner. Peters was allegedly not very happy about Bratner's allegedly proposed $225 million budget estimate and, as a result of their allegedly ensuing heavy-handed dispute, Ratner has allegedly taken a walk on the project. One doesn't know what will now become of the high-flying hero who can leap tall buildings at a single bound, but is having difficulty financing the springboard.

  • What do you think of when you hear "round and round and round he goes"? Well, it could soon be "Brown Bunny", that much talked about film that didn't get the greatest reactions from the public in Cannes. The events following the event, however, have created some confusion and much publicity. It seems that critic Roger Ebert either misquoted or gave the wrong impression of a statement made by writer/director/star Vincent Gallo about his latest cinematic vehicle. With the breakneck speed of a 250cc Formula II racer, Gallo allegedly called Ebert a "fat pig". Who knows where or when this state of affairs will end? It might have been wiser for Gallo to keep his lips sealed.

  • Those of you captured by the inevitability of Green should take a visit to the Hulk trailer: www.thehulk.com. The day is getting closer!

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