IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund turns 30 and announces its autumn 2018 funding recipients
by Vassilis Economou
- Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lisandro Alonso, Benjamín Naishtat and Oleg Sentsov are among those receiving backing for the development of their upcoming projects
The Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is about to turn 30 and this year has selected 11 film projects hailing from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East for its Script and Project Development scheme. The total grant that the fund will dish out amounts to €115,000.
To celebrate its anniversary and in recognition of their impact on cinema, the HBF has picked three highly acclaimed filmmakers who have built up a close relationship with IFFR and will support them in the “Voices” funding section. Thai master of “slow cinema” and visual artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who also created the immersive SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL experience at IFFR 2018, is now preparing his upcoming feature, Memoria, starring Tilda Swinton in one of the main roles.
Furthermore, four years after his acclaimed Jauja [+see also:
film profile], starring Viggo Mortensen, Argentinian writer-director Lisandro Alonso is now developing Eureka. Another Argentinian director, Benjamín Naishtat, whose latest film, Rojo [+see also:
interview: Benjamín Naishtat
film profile], premiered at Toronto, is already getting stuck into his new feature La rosa de cobre. Finally, to emphasise its support for free voices that need to be expressed in today’s cinema, the HBF is exceptionally supporting Numbers, the sophomore feature by Ukrainian filmmaker and activist Oleg Sentsov, who has been in prison in Siberia for the past four years. The movie is being developed in collaboration with Akhtem Seitablaev.
In the “Bright Future” funding section, the HBF is financing seven upcoming filmmakers, including Nele Wohlatz (The Future Perfect - Best First Feature at Locarno in 2016), Caroline Leone (A Window to Rosália), and Prantik Basu, who won a Tiger Short Award in 2017 for his short Sakhisona. Also, two documentarians are preparing their first fiction films: Afghanistan’s Aboozar Amini, whose Kabul, City in the Wind [+see also:
film profile] will open the IDFA this year; and Yemen’s Sara Ishaq (The Mulberry House).
Head of IFFR PRO Marit van den Elshout underlines: “This autumn, we’re supporting a remarkable selection of projects on their way to completion, seven of which are first or second feature films. As we’re celebrating the 30-year existence of HBF, we are reminded once more of the importance of supporting cinema in parts of the world where filmmakers are not always free to express themselves as they please.”
The projects selected for the autumn 2018 HBF Script and Project Development scheme are:
Bright Future (debut and sophomore feature films)
Dengue - Prantik Basu (India)
Do Fish Sleep with Their Eyes Open? - Nele Wohlatz (Argentina/Brazil)
From Guiné - Caroline Leone (Brazil)
Raja's Early Summer - Zi Gao (China)
The Station - Sara Ishaq (Yemen/Jordan)
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection - Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho/South Africa)
Ways to Run - Aboozar Amini (Afghanistan/Netherlands)
Voices (more experienced filmmakers)
Eureka - Lisandro Alonso (Argentina/France/Brazil/Netherlands/Germany/Spain/USA)
Memoria - Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Colombia/Thailand/UK)
Numbers - Oleg Sentsov, in collaboration with Akhtem Seitablaev (Ukraine/Poland)
La rosa de cobre - Benjamín Naishtat (Argentina)
The 48th edition of International Film Festival Rotterdam takes place from 24 January-3 February 2019. The IFFR PRO Days (including the 36th CineMart) take place from 27 January-2 February.
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