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Netherlands Film Festival and Holland Film Meeting 2021

In 2021, the HFM continues to expand its programme in the most sustainable way. The event now offers a multiple-week development programme to the project teams in selection, the scope of which reaches as far as Indonesia and South-Africa this year, and includes experts from all over the globe.

Of the 22 projects, presented under the pillars of BoostNL, Stories & Beyond, and New Dutch, we are thrilled to include 12 projects that are helmed by a female writer or director (or both), 13 projects that are by BIPOC filmmakers, and 4 are stories from LGBTQ+ experiences. Furthermore, we are delighted that the selection is an eclectic blend of genres and filmmaking forms, including 3 dazzling digital storytelling projects and 3 highly original, hybrid documentaries.

BoostNL Selection

BoostNL, the tailor-made professional programme run in collaboration with partner festival IFFR and its CineMart, will continue its successful streak of project development and exposure for its sixth edition. The 7 projects selected are from The Netherlands, Bolivia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Thailand. Their five-month programme focuses in particular on script and story development in the most varied ways, and helps develop festival, sales and marketing ideas for optimal market exposure at both the HFM and CineMart.

BoostNL has become a renowned platform for the development of brilliant audiovisual works, such as The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (Muayad & Rami Alayan), Pleasure** (Ninja Thyberg) and Sacha Polak’s Dirty God**. La Última Primavera** by Isabel Lamberti (produced by IJswater Films) was part of BoostNL 2018 and HFM 2019, and was selected for online Cannes 2020. The Station* by Sara Ishaq (produced by Nadia Eliewat and co-produced by Dutch outfit Keplerfilm) won development awards at both HFM 2019 and CineMart 2020, before being selected for Cannes Cinéfondation’s L’Atélier 2020.

This year’s line-up includes a new film from director Ibrahim Karatay (in BoostNL 2020 as the producer of Arianne Hinz’s Marionettes) and Janneke Pol, a highly personal exploration of the relationship between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, A Chronicle From Nagorno-Kabarakh; a thrillingly cinematic tale of sleepwalking set in the world of indigenous Guarani Brazilians, Maya Da-Rin’s Nightsong*; a darkly comedic and refreshingly frank take on expat life and society’s expectations in Ukrainian-Dutch Mariia Ponomarova’s The Right Answer*; and Silver Leopard winner Zhannat Alshanova’s cautionary tale of blind ambition at an experimental swimming school in Kazakhstan, A Winner Seen At The Start.

Stories & Beyond Selection

After being solely Europe-focused for its previous editions, Stories & Beyond now also takes advantage of the online format by training its spotlight on countries that would otherwise not easily be included in the programme. The 2021 programme focuses for the first time on projects and professionals from Indonesia and South Africa, an exciting decision in the light of recent co-production developments between those countries and The Netherlands, especially this year’s hit on Amazon Prime, De Oost** (The East) by director Jim Taihuttu and producer New Amsterdam Film Company.

The 2021 selection consists of 11 projects. The Netherlands provides the border-crossing historical epic Mata Hari*, a dream project of one of the country’s most renowned directors, Paula van der Oest; a hilariously gory addition to the horror genre in the shape of Jan van Gorkum’s Shiny New World; and the harrowing tale of slavery in Suriname as captured by Hesdy Lonwijk’s Plantation Wildlust.

From South Africa, there’s the glorious queer documentary We Speak Gayle (based on the BFI Flare-funded short) and the immersive animation Chance Encounters by all-round talent Naomi van Niekerk. Indonesia brings us the future audience favorite animation Galeo Of The Seawalkers as well as the tender documentary The Silent Path, about a Dutch pastor returning to the Indonesian region where he’s spent most of his life. From France, the Tunisian road movie of friendship and hardship Tunis-Djerba by award-winner Amel Guellaty, as well as the provocative Ibiza-set dramedy S’Aigua Blanca by IFFR alumnus Maxime Kathari.

New Dutch Selection

Under the banner “New Dutch”, which highlights majority Dutch projects in post-production as well as audiovisual projects that follow less conventional routes, another 4 projects have been selected for creative mentorship in the final stages of their creative process and their first steps onto the marketplace. This section includes some unique projects in the realm of digital storytelling, from idiosyncratic voices ready for international exposure.

Gearing up to move audiences across the world is Dwight Fagbamila’s feature film debut, Femi, a haunting tale of a young Black man’s emotional whirlwind of uncontrolled rage, absent fathers, and voodoo. The other three projects in this selection are stunning examples of immersive digital storytelling: Mieke Gerritzen’s ‘typography film’ and critical pamphlet of modern society, Swipe*; Abner Preis’ youth-oriented fever dream of choices and consequences, The Miracle Basket*; and Maartje Nevejan’s magnanimous, tender exploration of Swiss Zen Buddhism and psychedelic experiences at high altitudes, Descending The Mountain.

Find the entire selection list here.

*Film supported by the Netherlands Film Fund
**Film supported by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherland Film Production Incentive

Source: SEE-NL, HFM / NFF