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Netherlands Film Fund: strengthen the position of Dutch feature films

A report on the international performance of Dutch feature films was presented this morning during the Netherlands Film Festival. The research shows that Dutch feature films are less successful abroad compared to feature films from Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Sweden. Dutch features appear to attract primarily Dutch audiences. It is also notable that of the countries studied, the Netherlands produces the most features. The report also shows that the Netherlands has great talent potential and that there are opportunities to strengthen its international position.

The Film Fund views the report as an opportunity and starting point for a discussion between all parties in the Dutch industry. The goal is to jointly define ambitions and compose a plan on how to strengthen the position of Dutch feature films. The Fund welcomes the initiative of the Dutch Academy For Film (DAFF) to take the lead in this.

"What are we going to focus on and how do we ensure that together we take responsibility for getting there?"

Sandra den Hamer

"The results are not surprising, but they are a wake-up call for the entire Dutch film sector. The report is not about right or wrong, but about opportunities. After years of focus on growth, the sudden stagnation of the Corona pandemic and a now rapidly changing playing field, we need to keep moving more than ever. The report therefore comes at exactly the right time. At this moment of reconsideration, it is important to have a frank conversation together about where we want to go as a film country in the coming years. The report makes it clear: we can take better care of our talent, opt for quality instead of quantity and look beyond just merely producing films, with more attention to audiences. What are we going to focus on and how do we ensure that together we take responsibility for getting there? That's a plan we can only make together," said Sandra den Hamer, interim director-director of the Film Fund.

The trigger for this research were signals that Dutch feature films seemed to be doing less well abroad compared to the successes that the Netherlands realised with documentaries, short films and VR productions. Comparable countries seemed to be doing better. What is the difference in their approach and what can the Dutch film sector learn from this? In 2022, the Netherlands Film Fund commissioned the renowned British research firm Olsberg SPI to compare the international performance of Dutch feature films with Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Belgium over the period 2010-2022. For the comparative study, Olsberg SPI developed a special high excellence benchmark that mapped the top of all produced feature films. Martin Koolhoven's Dutch film Brimstone (2017) came closest to the high benchmark.