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Norwegian Film Institute’s Sørfond supports six new international co-productions


- The international fund dedicated to co-productions aims to promote film culture, to fly the flag for diversity and to safeguard freedom of expression

Norwegian Film Institute’s Sørfond supports six new international co-productions
Director Jasmila Žbanić

Sørfond, the international co-production fund administered by the Norwegian Film Institute in co-operation with the Films from the South Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, has recently awarded support to six international co-productions with Norwegian minority producers. This initiative is aimed at supporting film productions whose majority producers are based in developing countries, as well as at promoting film culture, diversity, artistic integrity and freedom of expression.

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This year’s grants have been awarded to projects of Palestinian, Bosnian, Bangladeshi, Ukrainian and Indian descent. The jury, composed of director and screenwriter Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad/France), actress and screenwriter Amy Black Ndiaye (Norway) and former film consultant Eva Færevaag (Norway), has evaluated 46 applications in total and has subsequently opted to support three fiction films and three documentaries. The overall allocation for 2018 amounts to 3 million Norwegian kroner (€318,000). 

The first successful project, the documentary Chopped by debutante directors Karam Ali and Casey Asprooth-Jackson, explores an underground network of Palestinian car thieves. Co-produced by Håvard Wettland Gossé for Spætt Film AS and Palestinian firm Idioms Film, the film was awarded a total of 200,000 Norwegian kroner (€21,200).

Quo Vadis, Aida? is a fiction film directed by Jasmila Žbanić and co-produced by Ingunn Sundelin and Eric Vogel for Tordenfilm AS, alongside Bosnian-Herzegovinian firm, Deblokada. Set in 1995 during the Bosnian War, the story focuses on schoolteacher Aida and her determination to rescue her family from their precarious situation. Žbanić’s drama was awarded 600,000 Norwegian kroner (€63,600). 

The third project, entitled Day After Tomorrow, is co-produced by Ingrid Lill Høgtun for Barentsfilm AS and Beginning Production Ltd. (Bangladesh). Directed by Kamar Ahmas Simon and now in receipt of 500,000 Norwegian kroner (€53,000), this poetic documentary explores the individual stories of those who make their way along a 200 km Bangladeshi waterway, travelling aboard a century-old paddle steamer. 

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian production set to receive backing from Sørfond is the fiction film Stepne, directed by Maryna Vroda. Her feature debut is co-produced by Ingrid Lill Høgtun for Barentsfilm AS and Vrodastudio (Ukraine) and has been awarded 700,000 Norwegian kroner (€74,250). The story is set in today’s Ukraine and follows the journey of an elderly man who is making his way across the country to attend his mother’s funeral. 

Finally, two Indian projectshave received funds, namely Memories and My Mother, directed by Adity Vikram Sengupta,and Rintu Thomas’ debut feature, Writing With Fire. The former, co-produced by Marie Fuglestein Lægreid for DUOfilm AS and Indian firm Holy Basil Productions Pvt. Ltd, was awarded700,000 Norwegian kroner (€74,250) and is said to paint the picture of “a rich universe in which the fast-moving changes taking place in Calcutta are presented in the form of a puzzle”. Writing With Fire, meanwhile, allocated 300,000 Norwegian kroner (€31,800), is co-produced by Tone Grøttjord-Glenne for Sant & Usant AS, alongside Black Ticket Films (India). Set in rural Indian, Thomas’ documentary shines a light on the incredible story of an 8-page weekly newspaper that is run and written entirely by women from the ‘untouchable’ caste.

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