EFM - Incredible Film
In 2009, intrepid Dutch film executive Danielle Raaphorst was driving at high speed down a busy freeway with the car radio blasting, she tells See NL. The song being played had a chorus with the words "so incredible" repeated again and again. At the time, she was looking for a name for her new film sales company and this was the one that stuck.
Incredible Film has now been in existence for 12 years. It has handled an immense range of titles: family movies, tongue in cheek horror (for example Dick Maas' Prey**) about a lion at loose in Amsterdam, which opened on 4000 screens in China in 2016), and heavyweight drama (such as The Conductor**), telling the story of the first woman to conduct a leading symphony orchestra.)
Danielle Raaphorst-Incredible Film
Raaphorst will again be participating in Berlin's European Film Market with two new features, kids' adventure Family Fox on Expedition*) and raucous pandemic comedy From Gerri With Love, which was made last spring during the first lockdown. It's about a chemistry teacher trying to give lessons online but who becomes a viral sensation when his students realise he is in his underpants. Netflix took From Gerri for the Netherlands but other rights are available.
"This is the first online market that I will attend," Raaphorst says of Berlin market, held virtually this year, and adds that she is "not quite sure what to expect."
It's a strange time in the business. On the one hand, she notes, distributors are nervous as they wait for cinemas to re-open. On the other, streamers are buying as never before. Even so, 2020 saw business dip.
"It was a very quiet year, last year," Raaphorst reflects on the impact Covid has had on the industry. "I'm mostly selling local films in the Dutch market and there wasn't much produced for several months...it was hard to find the right project to enter the market with."
Not that Raaphorst was taking it easy. She was one of the first to shoot a movie when the first lockdown lifted, producing Angel**), directed by Dennis Bots. The family drama went on to do solid business, with admissions of around 85,000 in the Netherlands. It also sold to several international territories, but Raaphorst acknowledges it would have performed much more strongly without the interference of Covid.
Raaphorst had been working in distribution for several years for Just Entertainment when she decided to set up Incredible Film. "There was no Dutch sales agent at that time," she remembers of a period when Dutch producers relied almost entirely on foreign companies to handle their projects in the international marketplace. "I stepped in that hole."
One early focus was on family adventure. This is a genre that the Dutch excel in and for which foreign buyers have always had an appetite.
In the years that have followed, Incredible has continued to sell family fare. Occasionally, though, it has taken on very big budget projects in other genres. For example, Raaphorst and her team handled viking epic Redbad the Legend**) starring Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks.
Raaphorst often both produced and sold the films in which Incredible was involved. She is doing that far less now, citing the risk involved. "In the Covid period, there is always something you don't have and it will cost you a lot of money," she reflects. "I like producing but it's not the only thing I want to do. I think my strength is that I know the whole process [of filmmaking]. I can make a film, I can sell it and market it on the Benelux market and I can sell it on the international market - and that is the fun thing."
Just Entertainment recently invited Raaphorst to join their management team. She agreed - and so will now continue to run Incredible Film while also working in the new role.
In the years that Incredible has been in existence, the film industry has undergone rapid change.
"In 2009, we went to the markets with dozens of DVD screeners," she remembers. Now, the films are shown to buyers via online links. This is the bold new world of the streamers and VOD platforms as well as old-fashioned theatrical distributors. "But the concept of selling is still the same," the Incredible Films boss reflects on the marketing skills and contacts she has honed and developed over so many years.
*) This film was supported by the Netherlands Film Fund
**) This film was supported by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Film Production Incentive
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