The Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has selected twenty-seven film projects that receive grants for script development, digital production, postproduction, distribution or workshops. In its Fall 2009 selection, the Fund gives 385 thousand Euro to projects from nineteen countries. The selection includes new films by acclaimed filmmakers such as Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Edwin and many first time filmmakers.
Six of the eight projects selected for postproduction and final financing support are expected to premiere during IFFR’s upcoming edition (January 27 – February 7, 2010): among these are Agua fría de mar (Cold Sea) from Costa Rica, Qarantina from Iraq, Jean Gentil from the Dominican Republic and Soul Boy from Kenya.
Agua fría de mar is Paz Fábrega’s début feature, set on the beaches of the Pacific during Christmas holiday season, and deals with the subtleties of femininity, class and identity in contemporary Costa Rica. The project received Hubert Bals Fund script development support in 2007 and was selected for the Hubert Bals Fund Plus programme in 2008 (with Dutch coproducer Isabella Films).
Qarantina, second film by Iraqi filmmaker and writer Oday Rasheed, tells of an Iraqi hit-man, hiding out at a poor family’s house. Sophomore effort by Cochochi-directors Laura Amelia Guzmán Conde & Israel Cárdenas, Jean Gentil received script development support in 2008. The film follows a Haitian professor on a quest for work in a Dominican town. When he does not find any, he leaves for the countryside armed with his faith. Soul Boy, first film by Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman, will be part of the 39th IFFR theme section ‘Where is Africa?’
Soul Boy tells of a child living in the Kibera ghetto of Nairobi, who has one day and one night to retrieve his father´s soul.
Thirteen filmmakers are selected to receive script development grants from the Hubert Bals Fund. Among them is acclaimed filmmaker Yeşim Ustaoğlu who is preparing her new project Limbo after her international hit Pandora’s Box. While Satish Manwar’s The Damned Rain (IFFR 2009) still travels the festival circuit, he is working on his new project What’s Your Religion?
Promising projects from first time feature film makers include Remote Control (which was selected for CineMart 2009) from Mongolian director Byamba Sakhya and Lobo en medio de lobos (Wolf among Wolves) from Mexican director Natalia López. The Hubert Bals Fund has selected two alternative distribution initiatives, which both work with mobile cinemas and bring art film to large audiences outside the bigger cities. Efecto Cine (Uruguay) organizes screenings of national and Latin-American films in Uruguay, eastern Argentina and the south of Brazil. Philippine initiative Cinemanila Sine Barangay tours the country with national films and their makers, organizing seminars and establishing film libraries on their way.
The Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam has a successful track record of discovering and supporting creative, independent filmmakers and stimulating film culture in developing countries. Twice a year, the fund makes contributions to a total of around sixty film projects. The contributions often act as seal of approval which helps finding additional investors. Many Hubert Bals Fund supported films have gained international acclaim at major film festivals and have found distribution in numerous countries.
Fall 2009, Ahasin wetei (Between Two Worlds) by Vimukthi Jayasundara screened in Venice’s Competition and Choi voi (Adrift) by Thac Chuyen Bui won the Venice FIPRESCI prize. Turkish 10 to 11 by Pelin Esmer screened in San Sebastian’s Competition and Ho Yuhang’s At the End of Daybreak won the NETPAC award during the Locarno festival.
The line up of the IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund Fall 2009 Selection Round in full:
Postproduction & final financing Cold Sea (Agua fría de mar) by Paz Fábrega, Costa Rica Jean Gentil by Laura Amelia Guzmán Conde & Israel Cárdenas, Dominican Republic/Mexico Qarantina by Oday Rasheed, Iran Soul Boy by Hawa Essuman, Kenya Stone is the Earth (Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Bato) by Ramon Mes De Guzman, Philippines Susa by Rusudan Pirveli, Georgia La vida útil by Federico Veiroj, Uruguay Virgin Goat by Murali Nair, India
Digital Production Summer of Goliath (Verano de Goliat) by Nicolás Pereda, Mexico
Script and Project development The Drummer (Jibondhuli) by Tanvir Mokammel, Bangladesh Limbo (Araf) by Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Turkey Wolf among Wolves (Lobo en medio de lobos) by Natalia López, Mexico Lucía by Rubén Sierra Salles, Venezuela Modest Reception (Paziraee Saadeh) by Mani Haghighi, Iran Night Train by Koutaiba Al-Janabi, Iraq NN by Héctor Gálves Campos, Peru The Old Donkey (Lao Lv Tou) by Li Ruijun, China Postcards from the Zoo by Edwin, Indonesia Remote Control (Shuvuukhai) by Byamba Sakhya, Mongolia Villegas by Gonzalo Tobal, Argentina What’s Your Religion? (Tuhya Dharm Koncha?) by Satish Manwar, India The Winds (Ruzgarlar) by Selim Evci, Turkey
Distribution Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly by Edwin, Babibutafilm, Indonesia Efecto Cine, Coral Films, Uruguay Sine Baranguay, Cinemanila International Film Festival, Philippines
Special projects Maisha Screenwriting Lab, Maisha Foundation, Uganda Hubert Bals Fund Award at Goa Film Bazaar, India