Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dutch Film Festival

From September 28 till October 7, 2005 the Dutch Film Festival is held in my hometown Utrecht. In one and a half week more than 100 movies will be presented. And at the end of the festival the Dutch Oscars, Golden Calfs (The Netherlands used to be an agrarian nation!) will be presented. The festival opened on September 28, 2005 with the premiere of the movie Leef! (live!) by director Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen, who died a day before the showing.

A movie festival is natural place to see how the broadband content industry in the Netherlands is moving on. Tiscali is the major sponsor of the festival. And an Internet movie side event was announced for next year.

The organisation announced that next year they will extend the festival with Internet movies, whatever they are. I suggested last year to the organisation (but never received a reply back) to have a side event of interactive movies in the tradition of Chris Hales and Kinoautomat. Of course also the mobile movies are an interesting area. In London there is the 30 seconds movie festival.

The event has now a very professional website, complete with a gateway to the Dutch Movie Database. But that was different in 1995.The festival got its first site ten years ago, sponsored by a local newspaper Het Utrechts Nieuwsblad, part of the Wegener Newspaper Group, and set-up by a group of enthusiasts, a real geek named Vince, a designer and a project manager, a girl with the name De Bruin. On behalf of the newspaper, I monitored the project.
It was one of those pioneer projects, just started a few days before the festival. The technology had to be set up, connections tested and content made. And while the technicians slept in their sleeping bags in the office of the local newspaper, the design was heavily discussed. I remember the discussion about a menu on a cow, referring to the golden calf award. Eventually after a long night’s discussion, a lot of coffee and beer, the final design was fixed. I would not know how it looked any more as the site is no longer online (but there still seems to be a CD-ROM of the site). The program announcements were put online and daily a report was made and put on the site. The local newspaper offered its review database as a feature.

How many people have looked at the first database is not clear. At least a company in Rotterdam was looking at it as they produced earlier the first site of the Rotterdam Film Festival. Also the organisers had an occasional look at the site; but it did not have their interest, besides they were not paying. But this lukewarm attitude has disappeared. After ten years the site has a mature radiation. But personally I like the sponsor site of Tiscali better; they have made better use of broadband features.

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