Dutch Distributor of 'Lord of the Rings' Films, 'Brokeback Mountain' Appears Close to Collapse

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A-Film, a leading indie player in the Netherlands, has requested a moratorium on its debts.

One of the leading indie distributors in the Netherlands appears close to collapse.

A-Film, which released the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Brokeback Mountain and Zero Dark Thirty in the Netherlands, has filed a request for a debt moratorium after its creditors reportedly cut off financing to the beleaguered firm.

Reports in the Dutch media note that A-Film's current releases, including Belle and Dark Places, have been pulled from cinemas and the release of future titles is in doubt. According to Dutch business magazine Quote, A-Film has at least $17 million (€15 million) in debts.

The company, like many in the European indie scene, has suffered from a sharp decline in ancillary revenues from DVD sales. Revenue from VOD, while growing fast in the Netherlands, has yet to adequately replace loses from traditional home entertainment. A-Film also hasn't had a major hit in years. Recent releases including Admiral, a Dutch period drama, and Blood Sweat & Tears, a biopic of a Dutch folk music star, performed below expectations.

A-Film and CEO Sim van Veen have so far declined to comment. But Pim Hermeling, who co-founded the company in 1999 together with San Fu Maltha, told Dutch paper De Volkskrant that the collapse of A-Film could have “a domino effect” on indie distributors in the country. “I think creditors will now impose stricter requirements on film distributors,” said Hermeling, who, like Maltha, left A-Film several years ago.