Netherlands still in the Bals game

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AMSTERDAM  -- Reversing a previous decision, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will continue as the principal financier of the Hubert Bals Fund, a key component of the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Earlier this year, the ministry rejected the fund's subsidy application for 2009-2012, causing what was seen as a direct threat to the fund's existence.

"The fund offers audiences the opportunity to see high-quality films from southern countries and filmmakers a platform leading to worldwide recognition of their works," Minister of Development Cooperation Bert Koenders said in response to a question raised by Member of Parliament Boris van der Ham.

Said Hubert Bals Fund manager Bianca Taal: "This is a very positive decision, although the actual amount of subsidy and specific conditions have yet to be determined. The future of the Hubert Bals Fund, however, is secure now."