Annual Report 2019-2020

Hubert Bals Fund

Since its inception in 1989, the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) has been a pioneer in providing financial support to films and recognising talent from from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe.

Funding schemes

Whether it’s in the script and project development, (co-)production, or post-production phase, HBF grants often play a crucial role in enabling filmmakers to realise their projects. In many cases these filmmakers come from areas lacking in freedom of expression or a real film infrastructure. So far, the fund has contributed since 1989 to close to 1,200 film projects.

All applications – 867 in 2019 – are assessed by film-industry experts and IFFR staff with varying backgrounds and regional focuses. They pick projects based on artistic quality and financial viability. HBF-supported projects premiering in 2019/20 include award-winning films such as Mamadou Dia’s Nafi’s Father, Maya Da-Rin’s The Fever, Theo Court’s Blanco en blanco, Arun Karthick’s Nasir and Alex Piperno’s Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine. The success of HBF-backed films in Rotterdam and abroad underlines the effectiveness of the synergy IFFR Pro creates between funding (HBF), training (BoostNL), co-production (CineMart) and the festival (IFFR). 

HBF at IFFR 2020

As every year, IFFR 2020 screened a range of HBF-supported projects. This edition included the IFFR-commissioned works of three collectives operating out of Sub-Saharan Africa, a region where film production is under severe pressure. This resulted in three excellent films, which IFFR is now assisting in terms of post-festival distribution: The Nest Collective’s short film Tapi! (Kenya), Negrume’s documentary Kmêdeus (Cape Verde), and Geração 80’s feature-length Air Conditioner (Angola).

IFFR 2020 also saw the second edition of the Dutch Post-production Awards, a collaboration between the HBF, the Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Post production Alliance. The jury picked La hija de todas las rabias by Laura Baumeister and Ningdu by Lei Lei as the winners of two €50,000 prizes to be spent on post-production in the Netherlands. Both projects were previously supported by HBF.


The HBF is supported by Creative Europe MEDIA, Netherlands Film Fund, Tiger Film Mecenaat, Van Beek Donner Stichting and Netherlands Post production Alliance. Throughout 2019, income from private donors has seen a growth of 21% when compared to last year, contributing to the fund’s financial stability.

Circulation and critical success

In the 2019-2020 season HBF-funded films won many prestigious awards. Highlights were

  • Nafi’s Father by Mamadou Dia, Senegal (2019) won Best First Feature & the Golden Leopard Filmmakers of the Present at Locarno 2019
  • The Fever by Maya Da-Rin, Brazil/France/Germany (2019) Locarno Best Actor and FIPRESCI Prize
  • Blanco en blanco by Theo Court, Spain/Chile/Germany/France (2019) won the Orizzonti Award and FIPRESCI Prize at Venice 2019
  • Nasir by Arun Karthick, India/Netherlands (2020) won the NETPAC Award at IFFR 2020
  • Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine by Alex Piperno, Uruguay/Argentina/Brazil/Netherlands/Philippines (2020) won the Tagesspiegel Readers Jury Award at the Berlinale

HBF-supported films had a theatrical release in Dutch cinemas

  • Hard Paint by Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon, Brazil (2018) released by Arti Film
  • Monos by Alejandro Landes Colombia/Argentina/Netherlands/Germany/Sweden/Uruguay/USA/Switzerland/Denmark/France (2019) released by Gusto Entertainment
  • Oblivion Verses by Alireza Khatami, France/Germany/Netherlands/Chile (2017) released by MOOOV Film Distribution
  • Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya/South Africa/Germany/Netherlands/France/Norway/Lebanon/UK (2018) released by Cinemien
  • Rojo by Benjamín Naishtat, Argentina/Brazil/France/Netherlands/Germany (2018) released by September Film Distribution
  • Tarde para morir joven by Dominga Sotomayor, Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar (2018) released by EYE Filmmuseum






Selected projects HBF 2020

HBF Spring Selection 2019

HBF Fall Selection 2019

HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production Support

HBF+Europe Selection 2019

NFF+HBF Co-production Scheme

HBF Spring Selection 2019

HBF Fall Selection 2019

Dutch Post-production Awards

Dutch Post-production Awards 2020

HBF Harvest shown at IFFR 2020

IFFR Pro Harvest in 2020