The Dutch Film Sector Joins Forces to Establish Eye Film Institute Netherlands
• Four film organizations merged as of December 31, 2009 into one sector-wide institute • The new name is eye Film Institute Netherlands • Ido Abram to lead the Communication sector
On December 31, 2009, The Filmmuseum, Holland Film, the Netherlands Institute for Film Education (NIF), and the Filmbank pooled their resources to form a new organization. With this merger, the Dutch film world has gained a sector-wide umbrella institute that works to support national cinema culture. The four organizations now operate under the name eye Film Institute Netherlands.
The establishment of eye is the result of Education, Culture and Science Minister Ronald Plasterk’s insistence that the sector unite in a nationwide institute, comparable to sector institutes such as the Netherlands Music Center, the Netherlands Theater Institute (TIN), and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi). On an international level the new institute can be compared with colleague institutions such as the British Film Institute and the Danish Film Institute.
The merger reflects ambitions that go beyond the original responsibilities of the participating organizations. Eye will become the face of Dutch cinema both at home and abroad, and it will function as ambassador of national film culture. The sector institute will target both wide audiences as well as the professional film world, making use of a renowned museum film collection, restoration and research expertise, and a great deal of experience in the fields of education and international promotion and marketing. International advertising and communication company Wieden+Kennedy will take charge of the institute’s branding.
According to eye director Sandra den Hamer, “Our new name is more than just a wink – it marks an important step in a process of change. By joining forces, digitizing the film collection and building a spectacular new headquarters on Amsterdam Harbor, we hope to lay a strong foundation for a contemporary, dynamic film institute where everything revolves around watching and seeing.”
Education, Culture and Science Minister Ronald Plasterk is delighted with the merger. “I offer my sincere congratulations to eye. Cinema is a form of cultural expression with both a very broad foundation and high peaks, and the Netherlands is very good at it. I’m convinced that the sector institute will provide a strong impetus for film culture in the Netherlands and the promotion and audience appreciation of Dutch cinema, both at home and abroad.”
For eye’s new responsibilities and activities, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has promised a contribution of €350,000. The same amount for new activities intended to strengthen the film climate will be granted to the institute out of the so-called VAT covenant that Minister Plasterk recently concluded with the film sector.
At the end of 2011, eye will move to a new location (four screens and 1,200 square meters of exhibition space) in the Overhoeks neighborhood, which is located across Amsterdam Harbor. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects was responsible for the building’s design.
The merger partners will continue their regular activities in the field of film archiving, presentation, distribution, education, and promotion. In addition, Eye will develop initiatives to stimulate the Dutch cinema climate and increase attention for film culture. By means of international collaboration, research and debate, eye will dedicate itself to propagating film knowledge as much as possible.
Last summer, as it was being established, the sector institute carried out a study to evaluate national and international developments surrounding the digitization of screening facilities. As an extension of this study, eye is working on putting together a project plan entitled Film Sector Digitization. This project includes the close involvement of organizations such as the Netherlands Association of Movie Theater Operators (NVB), the Netherlands Association of Film Renters (NVF), and the Netherlands Association of Feature Film Producers (NVS).
In February 2010, eye will publish a new guide of Dutch movie theaters. The publication will provide insight into the economic and cultural importance of the independent exhibition circuit in the Netherlands. The first copy will be presented during a symposium organized by eye for the art house sector in the ING House in Amsterdam.
Eye is managed by former Filmmuseum director Sandra den Hamer and employs approximately 165 staff members. The former directors of Holland Film (Claudia Landsberger) and the Filmbank (Anna Abrahams) will supplement their normal responsibilities with their respective roles as Manager of International Affairs and Project Manager of Programming, respectively. After the successful transfer of the Netherlands Institute for Film Education (NIF) to eye, former director Gabriël Maassen decided to seek a new career challenge.
Currently, eye’s management team consists of Géke Roelink (Presentation), Stan Spijkerman (Operational Management), Walter Swagemakers (Collection), Giovanna Fossati (Head Curator), and Managing Director Sandra den Hamer. Claudia Landsberger will participate in the management team on the business of international promotion.
As of May 1, 2010, Ido Abram, current director of the Binger Filmlab and former CineMart Director at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, will lead eye’s newly-established Communication sector. Starting then, he will also be part of eye’s management team and will oversee the following departments: National and International Communication, Marketing, Public Relations, and Networking. The Board of Trustees and the Director of eye are particularly pleased with Abram’s decision to join the team. With his international network and his many years of experience in the national and international film industry, Abram will offer a valuable contribution to eye’s successful profiling, both at home and abroad.
Under the guidance of Head Curator Giovanna Fossati, a department of Curators has been set up that includes Senior Curator Mark-Paul Meyer and Emjay Rechsteiner, curator of contemporary Dutch cinema. Rechsteiner, former manager of the preservation and digitization project Images for the Future, was appointed to strengthen eye’s relationship with the Dutch film industry.
Eye’s Board of Trustees consists of board members and trustees from the merging partners. It includes Sijbolt Noorda (Chairman), Ryclef Rienstra, Karel Doing, Arie Smit, and Doreen Boonekamp. As of April 1, 2010, Max van Praag will replace Doreen Bonnekamp. Over the course of this year, the Board of Trustees will be enlarged.
Website – www.eyefilm.nl