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2600 visitors for Supernova, couldn't be better? A tough issue in 7 scenes

Scene 1 - Expectations

De grootste zaal van filmtheater ‘t Hoogt is woensdagmiddag op uitnodiging van het Filmfonds volgestroomd met mensen uit de filmsector. Onderwerp van de bijeenkomst is het chronisch lage bezoek bij de meer artistieke Nederlandse films.

This has been the case for a long time, by the way, and not only in the Netherlands. Should new avenues be explored? Should expectations be tempered? 'Towards a new distribution model' is the promising title of the debate. A title that will nevertheless prove somewhat ambitious.

Scene 2 - Supernova

De première van Supernova eerder dit jaar op het Filmfestival Berlijn. De zaal vol jong publiek kijkt ademloos. Regisseur Tamar van den Dop springen de tranen in de ogen van geluk. Ruim twee maanden later komt de anticlimax bij de Nederlandse bioscoopuitbreng van deze expressief vormgegeven coming-of-age-story. Ondanks lovende recensies en veel voorpubliciteit blijft de teller steken op 2600 bezoekers. Dat is om te huilen, ware het niet dat we er al aan gewend zijn. In ‘t Hoogt onthult de distributeur dat hij heeft overwogen de film niet uit te brengen, maar ja, er waren al contracten en goede relaties moeten ook gekoesterd. Een echte oplossing lijkt niemand te hebben.

Scene 3 - Exit cinema

Just a panoramic shot, looking abroad. Someone notes that a lot of films are produced in France and Germany that never make it to cinemas. There is no shame in going straight to video on demand or television. There are many more viewers there. Change that compulsory theatrical release in funding.

Scene 4 - New heroes

Louis Hartlooper Complex, 14 April. Premiere of cycling documentary New Heroes by Dirk Jan Roeleven in four theatres simultaneously. Big party. Cycling enthusiasts flocked. DWDD had also been engaged. Minister Frans Timmermans is on hand and tweeting. Roeleven sells his brainchild like a true merchant. Started promotion early on. Made a book. Approached cycling fanatics. Making sure everyone knows the film exists. Devised the 'Bike-Film-Frit' formula. After premiere, tirelessly took the film around the country. Movie theatres begged if they could show the film. Result: almost 10,000 visitors. Ten years ago, that was meagre; now we cheer when a documentary achieves that in the cinema. Event cinema, then? Sometimes yes, because not every film lends itself to mobilising target groups or organising events.

Scene 5 - Pathé

Intussen in ‘t Hoogt. Iemand in de zaal constateert: in Berlijn liepen jonge mensen warm voor Supernova. In Nederland draaide hij in arthouses en filmtheaters, waar het publiek in hoofdzaak 50+ is. Waarom dus het jonge publiek niet opgezocht waar het is, in de multiplexen van Pathé bijvoorbeeld, voegt een ander toe. Ooit geprobeerd met Kauwboy, antwoordt een derde, maar nul op het rekest gekregen. Producent René Goossens wil het met Zomer nog eens proberen. Het schijnt dat Pathé wel iets met de incourante timeslots wil doen. Niemand van Pathé in de zaal, helaas.

Scene 6 - Still a new idea?

Rutger Wolfson, director of the Rotterdam Film Festival, stands up to advertise IFFR Live!, a way to export the festival feeling. Five premieres at the upcoming Rotterdam festival can be watched simultaneously online and in various European cinema halls. The filmmakers will be present during this. All viewers, whether in Poland or Spain, can participate in the Q&A session after the film via Twitter. The first film selected for IFFR Live! is Atlantic by Jan-Willem van Ewijk, about a young Moroccan fisherman travelling towards Europe on his surfboard.

Scene 7 - Lapping resources

The discussion is coming to an end. Filmkrant editor-in-chief Dana Linssen takes the honour of summarising it succinctly. She notes that mostly palliatives have been put on the table. Should we serve the apparently disrupted market? Shouldn't we create a market? Shouldn't we be talking about a cultural challenge? Throw open that whole system.

Leo Bankersen

Leo Bankersen has been writing about film since Chinatown and Night of the Living Dead. Reviewed as a freelance film journalist for the GPD for a long time. Is now, among other things, one of the regular contributors to De Filmkrant. Likes to break a lance for children's films, documentaries and films from non-Western countries. Other specialities: digital issues and film education.View Author posts

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