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Rotterdam Hubert Bals Fund selects 27 projects

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. (See full list below)
 
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
 
 
(end of list)
 
 
Profile of the Hubert Bals Fund
 
Along with CineMart, the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) is part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). The 39th IFFR will take place January 27 - February 7, 2010. Year-round news on IFFR, HBF and CineMart can be found on the festival website http://www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com/.
 
The Hubert Bals Fund is designed to bring remarkable or urgent feature films and feature-length creative documentaries by innovative and talented filmmakers from developing countries closer to completion. The Hubert Bals Fund provides grants that often turn out to play a crucial role in enabling these filmmakers to realize their projects. Although the Fund looks closely at the financial aspects of a project, the decisive factors remain its content and artistic value. Since the Fund started in 1988, close to 850 projects from independent filmmakers in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America have received support. Approximately 80% of these projects have been realised or are currently in production. Every year, the IFFR screens completed films supported by the Fund. The audience favorite among the HBF supported films screening in the festival receives the Dioraphte Award of 10,000 Euro.
 
The Hubert Bals Fund is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch non-governmental development organisations Hivos-NCDO Culture Foundation, the DOEN Foundation, Dioraphte Foundation and Dutch public broadcasting network NPS.
 
Grants and selection rounds
Annually, the Hubert Bals Fund has close to Euro 1.2 million at its disposal and is able to make individual grants of up to Euro 10,000 for script and project development, Euro 20,000 for digital production, Euro 30,000 for post-production or Euro 15,000 towards distribution costs in the country of origin. Selection rounds take place twice a year and have application deadlines on March 1 and August 1.
 
Training, workshops, the Hubert Bals Fund Awards
The Fund supports training initiatives for filmmakers in Ethiopia, Vietnam and Costa Rica. In Armenia and India, the Hubert Bals Fund participates in co-production meetings. On these occasions, Hubert Bals Fund Awards are granted to the most promising film projects.

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