Dutch companies Circe Films, IDTV Motel Films, Volya Films and Waterland Film have been selected to receive each € 50,000 from the Hubert Bals Fund Plus programme, an initiative of the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Netherlands Film Fund. The Dutch producers will coproduce four films:
· Our Grand Despair by Seyfi Teoman, Turkey
· Los ultimos cristeros (The Last Cristeros) by Matías Meyer, Mexico
· Ausencias (Absences) by Milagros Mumenthaler, Argentina
· 40 kun chilla (40 days of silence) by Saodat Ismailova, Uzbekistan
Iwana Chronis, Manager of the Hubert Bals Fund about the 2009 selection: “The Hubert Bals Fund is delighted with this year’s selection for the HBF Plus program. Looking back on the last four years, the HBF Plus program can be considered a great success and we are happy to see so many of the supported films doing so well at international festivals, with two Silver Bears (Jury Grand Prix and Alfred Bauer Prize) for Gigante (Adrián Biniez) in Berlin and a Cannes premiere for Los Viajes del Viento (Ciro Guerra) in 2009 alone.
We are pleased that the HBF Plus program is encouraging an increasing number of Dutch film producers to get involved into projects by filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and parts of Eastern Europe, thereby creating new opportunities for both parties.”
The ‘Hubert Bals Fund Plus’ programme, initiated in 2006, promotes international involvement of Dutch producers with films already supported by Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund.
Hubert Bals Fund Plus selection 2009:
Circe Film coproduces Our Grand Despair by Seyfi Teoman, produced by Turkish Bulut Film and German Unafilm.
Our Grand Despair, Teoman’s second feature project after his successful Summer Book portrays “Ender and Cetin, two men in their late thirties. After being away for many years, Cetin returns to Ankara, moves in with Ender, and as such, the two realize their childhood dream. Fikret, a close friend, asks whether his sister Nihal, can stay with them until she graduates from university. At first, Ender and Cetin are annoyed with the presence of a third party. After a while, however, Ender and Cetin, who act like caring and protective substitute parents for Nihal, fall in love with her; each unaware of the other’s love.” Our Grand Despair received Hubert Bals Fund script development support in 2008 en was in Cannes Ateliers 2009.
IDTV Motel Films is to coproduce Los ultimos cristeros (The Last Cristeros) by Mexican filmmaker Matías Meyer, produced by Mexican production companies Una Comunión and Axolote Cine.
Los ultimos cristeros, that received Hubert Bals Fund support for script development in 2008, is about "a cristero colonel who conducts, military and spiritually, six of his men through the sierra. They are followed by the government and are in need of ammunition. The support does not arrive and life in the sierra turns more difficult every day. In their suffering, they start feeling abandoned in their illness and solitude. Although rendition is an option, their oath to God is made; they have to die in the name of Christ the King."
Volya Films coproduces Uzbek film project 40 kun chilla (40 days of silence) by Saodat Ismailova that received script development support from the Hubert Bals Fund in 2007 and was also in Cannes Ateliers 2009. Volya Films is joined by Rohfilm, Germany and Atopic, France in Ismailova’s first feature. 40 kun chilla is “a story about women confronting crucial decisions: motherhood, the weight of tradition, homeland, and freedom of emotional expression, religion, or self-destruction in modern society.”
Waterland Film coproduces first feature project Ausencias (Absences) by Milagros Mumenthaler, produced by Ruda Cine, Argentina. Ausencias tells about “post-teenage sisters Marina, Sofía and Violeta who live together in the house of the grandmother that raised them and just passed away. During the mourning period, the sisters will face the process of accepting each of them taking different ways in life and leaving behind the family house life, as they knew it.” Ausencias was supported by the Hubert Bals Fund for script development in 2006 and was selected for CineMart 2008.
Hubert Bals Fund Plus
The Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam supports filmmakers from developing countries with contributions in the stages of script development, post-production and distribution. Annually 20 to 40 film productions are realized with the support of the Hubert Bals Fund. In order to offer Dutch producers the possibility to get involved more often in international productions, and to support the ‘Hubert Bals Fund projects’ in the stage of actual production as well, Hubert Bals Fund Plus has been set up in 2006 by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Approximately half of the films realized with support of the Hubert Bals Fund are made in cooperation with European co producers. The International Film Festival Rotterdam offers Dutch producers the opportunity to participate in international and artistically acclaimed productions through the extensive network of the Hubert Bals Fund and at the same time further support projects that were selected by the HBF.
In 2006, 2007 and 2008, the Netherlands Film Fund has made € 200,000 available for the Hubert Bals Fund Plus. Applications can be granted with a maximum of € 50,000 for a Hubert Bals Fund project, which already received script and project development support, co-produced by a Dutch producer.
Realized films include:
· Gitmek (My Marlon and Brando) by Hüseyin Karabey (Turkey, coproduced by IDTV/Motel Films, premiered in Rotterdam 2008 and was awarded as Best New Narrative Filmmaker at Tribeca 2008.
· Milh hadha al-bahr (Salt of this Sea) by (Palestine, coproduced by Augustus Films, premiered in Cannes 2008’s ).
· Los Viajes Del Viento - Ciro Guerra (Colombia, coproduced by Volya Films, premiered at Cannes 2009’s Un Certain Regard).
· Gigante - Adrian Biniez (Uruguay, coproduced by IDTV/Motel Films, premiered at Berlinale 2009 and was awarded two Silver Bears).
· Sahman (Border) by Harutyun Khatchatryan (Armenia, coproduced by Volya Films, premiered at Rotterdam 2009).