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The IDFA Bertha Fund supports six new documentaries


- The selected projects, backed through the IDFA Bertha Fund Europe-International Co-production funding scheme, will each receive a €40,000 grant

The IDFA Bertha Fund supports six new documentaries
Memory by Vladlena Sandu, a Dutch-Russian-Kosovar co-production that has received backing

At the beginning of June, the IDFA Bertha Fund announced it was backing six new non-fiction projects through the IDFA Bertha Fund Europe-International Co-production funding scheme. In detail, the fund will grant €40,000 to each project, in addition to offering tailored support through IDFA's Filmmaker Support department and year-round opportunities for connecting with IDFA’s professional network.

The initiative, supported by the Bertha Foundation, Creative Europe – MEDIA, the Netherlands Film Fund and Special Friends+, aims to strengthen collaborations between independent European producers and their colleagues in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

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The first backed project is Sarvnik Kaur's Against the Tide, co-produced by Les Films d’œil sauvage (France), Snooker Club Films Pvt Ltd (India) and A Little Anarky Films (India). It centres on Rakesh, a man in his thirties and a guardian of Bombay's Koli fishing tradition, and his cousin Ganesh, who has faith only in technology and fishes for tuna using satellite geo-positioning.

The second awarded documentary is Clare Weiskopf and Nicolas van Hemelryck's Alis [+see also:
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, co-produced by Romania's Defilm, Colombia's Casatarantula and Chile's Pantalla Cines. It follows eight teenage girls who invent a fictional classmate. As reality prevails and fiction fades, the innocent game becomes a descent into hell, where their luminous faces guide us to the very depths of the dark world they once inhabited, only to emerge with new skin.

The next supported project is Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir's Land of Women, co-produced by Egypt's Felucca Films and Denmark's Magma Film and TV. Set in a conservative village in the south of Egypt, dominated by the patriarchy and full of despair, the documentary focuses on a group of Coptic girls who refuse the traditional roles forced upon them by forming an all-female street theatre troupe.

Another grant was bestowed upon Vladlena Sandu's Memory, a co-production by Dutch outfit Revolver Amsterdam, Russian firm Mimesis Film and Kosovar studio BZ SH.P.K. In this film, the director herself, a survivor of the war in Chechnya between 1994 and 1998, studies her memories in order to transcend and transform them via cinema.

Next, a Belgian-Congolese-German-Burkinabé co-production, Nelson Makengo's Rising Up at Night, was also in receipt of a bursary from the fund. Co-produced by Twenty Nine Studio & Production (Belgium), Mutotu Productions (DR Congo), Film Five (Germany) and Diam Production (Burkina Faso), the documentary tells of the construction of Africa’s largest power plant on the Congo River in Kinshasa, and how the population is reinventing itself in an environment plagued by violence and uncertainty, but also immersed in the beauty of Kinshasa's nights.

The sixth backed project remains anonymous, and its content is yet to be disclosed.

The fund's selection committee included Henrik Underbjerg (IMS, Stray Dogs Productions), Adriek van Nieuwenhuijzen (IDFA's head of Industry), Armi Rae Cacanindin (Cinematografica Films), Estelle Robin You (Point du Jour/Les Films du Balibari) and Isabel Arrate Fernandez (IDFA Bertha Fund managing director). The IDFA Bertha Fund is accepting applications for the IBF Europe – Distribution of International Co-productions grant until 1 October, and it will be ready to accept new entries again in 2022. You can learn more about the available funding categories here.

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