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The Dutch Film Industry: The Importance & Value Of
Maintaining A Cultural Identity For Filmed Entertainment
 

Sonny Boy Director Maria Peters The Netherlands
  
The increased promotion of individual countries produced filmed entertainment is embedded in two intertwined fundamentals: preserving the nation's Culture and the wider implications of the socio-economics of maintaining the country's talent pool by investing in the indigenous film and television production industries.

The Netherlands is a European country with a population of 16.847.007 (est 2011) and approx 67% of the population aged between 15-64. The predominate ethnicity is 80% Dutch nationals with an average 2% of other ethnic origins such as Indonesian, Turkish, Surinamese, Moroccan, and 4% others (est. 2008). Within this geo-political and ethnic canvass there is a strong argument to preserve the Dutch Cultural identify.

Like most countries outside of the USA, with the noted exceptions, the USA accounted for 45.77% of the overall box office with 157 releases, the EU 33.53% and 115 releases, other countries 6.71% and 23 releases, and Netherlands including co-productions 13.99% and 48 releases. In this competitive arena Box Office for Dutch films saw over a 2 million increase in admissions and 19% increase in Box office revenues over 2010. The above figures demonstrate the need for films that reflect and underscore a Dutch sensibility and a growing audience appetite for such product.

In a recent address Wilco Wolfers, President of The Dutch Federation for Cinematography (Nederlandse Federatie voor de Cinematografie, NFC), noted the following with relation to the Netherlands in urging the industry to combat the talked of cutbacks.

He pointed out that 2011 was an exceptional and very good year for cinemas, movie theaters and art houses in the Netherlands. During 2011, over 30 million people purchased a movie ticket, a number that has not been achieved since 1978, with overall Box-office receipts increased to almost € 240 million.

Coupled with the increase in audience attendance Gooische Vrouwen, a Dutch feature film, attracted a record attendance of over 1.9 million moviegoers, making it the number one movie at the box office in 2011. A Dutch film has not topped the box office since Flodder (1986).

However despite the success of attendance for Gooische Vrouwen, the cinema industry is concerned about the upcoming cutbacks on film culture. These cutbacks will cause the number of Dutch films produced from 2013 onward to decrease significantly, which will put a strain on the market share of Dutch films.

The figures broken down reflect that in total 30,434,937 people attended a cinema, movie theater or art house in 2011 (2010: 28,189,790 movie-goers). Film clubs and art houses drew 1,976,000 viewers, an increase of 11.9%. Total box-office receipts rose to € 239,928,440, an increase of 9.37 % compared to 2010 (€219,370,413).

Dutch feature films have contributed substantially to this growth with a market share of 21.88% (2010: 14.83%).

In the Netherlands the basis for the growth in movie attendance in recent years is found in a combination of factors: the aforementioned success of Dutch films, the introduction of 3D films and the rising number of cinema screens and seats. In the past five years, 13.000 seats and 96 screens were added.

Cities in which new cinemas opened saw spectacular rises in movie attendance. With an average ticket price of €7,88 that has minimally increased compared to 2010 (€ 7,78), going to the movies in The Netherlands still remains the most inexpensive of all the leisure activities.

The statistics cannot be ignored for maintaining the support and production of Dutch films. The number one film that attracted the most moviegoers in 2011 was Gooische Vrouwen, with 1,919,982 viewers and a box-office receipt of 15 million euro. The number two movie was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with 1,378,512 viewers. Number three in 2011 was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with 1,073,583 viewers.

The statistics when looking purely at Dutch films are notable. The Dutch 3D-production Nova Zembla attracted over 624,000 moviegoers in 2011. With a turnover of € 5.6 million euro, it has reached sixth place in the General Top Ten and second place in the Top Ten of Dutch films. Sonny Boy, New Kids: Nitro, De Heineken Ontvoering, All Stars 2, Old Stars en Bennie Stout – De Grote Film van Sinterklaas each drew in excess of 200,000 moviegoers to the cinema. Sonny Boy, the Dutch submission to the 2012 Oscars, attracted 417,270 viewers.

What are the aims of the cinema industry in 2012? Continuing innovation and support of Dutch films. By the middle of 2012, the cinema industry will have finalized the digitalization of all movie theaters in the Netherlands.

This will make the Netherlands a frontrunner within Europe in regard to the new technology. Digitalization will induce a fundamental change in the way cinemas will be managed as well as in the distribution and production of films. Many consider this the most momentous change for cinemas since the introduction of sound films.

In 2011 the cinema and film distributing industry offered financial support to producers of Dutch films in the amount of € 1.6 million through the Abraham Tuschinski Fund. This amount will be indexed yearly to over € 2 million in 2015.

The slight discrepancy in the figures is due to the time element of reporting for the different organizations. At the time of going to press The Netherlands Film Fund had put together new proposals to the Dutch Ministry of Culture. Population statistics: courtesy www.cia.gov.

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