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International Film Festival Rotterdam

Combining within its organisation the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Hubert Bals Fund and co-production market CineMart, IFFR offers a launching pad and supportive platform for innovative and talented independent filmmakers.


IFFR starts celebrations Hubert Bals Fund’s 25th anniversary with opening film Qissa

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubert Bals Fund. During the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam, the festival will be paying extensive tribute to the Fund and its history. To date, the Fund has supported more than a thousand film projects worldwide, including Qissa by filmmaker Anup Singh from India – the film that will officially open the festival on Wednesday, 22 January. In addition, the festival will be dedicating a special themed programme to hidden treasures from the history of the HBF, and the Fund will be publishing an overview of all the projects supported throughout its history online. In addition, five classic HBF-supported films will screen for free on IFFR’s YouTube channel and the festival website.

Ten years after the Hubert Bals Fund supported Anup Singh’s film project Qissa with a contribution to its script development, the 43rd IFFR is opening with the film’s European premiere. Veteran Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi; Slumdog Millionaire) and young Bengali talent Tillotama Shome turn in great acting performances in this moving drama. The film was made with further support from the Netherlands Film Fund and was co-produced by Augustus Film. In 2002, IFFR screened Singh’s first film, Name of a River.

Mart Dominicus, artistic director a.i. of International Film Festival Rotterdam, on Qissa: 'Although the film is set in 1947, during a turbulent period in Indian history, the kernel of the story is extremely recognisable and contemporary. The father’s passionate desire for a male heir causes deep suffering within the community. Qissa is a poignant, universal story of ordinary people, more tragic than moralising. In spite of its rich – often exuberant – narrative style, the film at all times maintains the human scale of the suffering it depicts. The production was supported by the Hubert Bals Fund from the very earliest stage. This is a great example of the power of the Fund to help filmmakers from countries where making an independent feature film is by no means a matter of course. Financial support at crucial times in the production process can act as a catalyst for international recognition.’

Mysterious Objects – 25 Years of Hubert Bals Fund

The Hubert Bals Fund offers innovative, talented filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and parts of Eastern Europe assistance in realising outstanding or important feature films. The films that have been supported by the HBF over the years cannot be placed in any one category. The themed programme Mysterious Objects – 25 Years of Hubert Bals Fund will show a selection of surprising films that underline the artistic variety of works backed by the Fund. The title refers to Mysterious Object at Noon, the debut film by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul – a filmmaker now seen as among the very top international film auteurs. This film, alongside works by the likes of Chen Kaige, Carlos Reygadas and Elia Suleiman, will once again grace the big screen in Rotterdam.

Historical overview of supported projects

Since its foundation, the Hubert Bals Fund has supported more than a thousand film projects from all corners of the world. To mark its anniversary, the Fund is for the first time publishing a historical overview of all the projects it has supported in the form of a digital brochure on a special HBF anniversary page at

HBF classics online

In cooperation with development organisation and main sponsor Hivos, during the festival five HBF classics with a social angle will be made available online for a 24-hour period on the IFFR’s YouTube channel and the festival website.

HBF Harvest

The Fund’s current activities will also be represented at the festival. The festival has programmed eleven new, recently supported films: the HBF Harvest. These include the Thai film Concrete Clouds by Lee Chatametikool (Apitchatpong Weerasethakul’s editor), which competes in the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition, and the latest film from Algerian auteur Tariq Teguia, Zanj Revolution, which screens in Spectrum. Rodrigo Moreno’s Reimon (Argentina) is competing for The Big Screen Award. The full HBF Harvest can be found online


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About International Film Festival Rotterdam

Combining within its organisation the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Hubert Bals Fund and co-production market CineMart, IFFR offers a launching pad and supportive platform for innovative and talented independent filmmakers.



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