Hubert Bals Fund at IFFR 2024

23 January 2024

Film still: Praia Formosa


Hubert Bals Fund at IFFR 2024

23 January 2024

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to another inspiring edition of IFFR on behalf of the Hubert Bals Fund – an industry pillar ensuring the festival's unwavering commitment to not just celebrating talent but discovering it and supporting it.

At IFFR 2024 you can find the HBF in the form of films screening across the festival, as well as industry activities – and look out for our next deadlines following the festival.

Films in selection

In the Tiger Competition is Brazilian filmmaker Julia De Simone’s third feature, and first fiction, Praia Formosa. She presents the story of Muanza, a woman born in the Kingdom of Kongo in the early nineteenth century and trafficked to Brazil, who awakens to find herself in the present, roaming the streets of Rio’s rapidly changing port region, known as ‘Pequena Africa’, or Little Africa. The ghosts of the past enter the realm of the present as the film grapples with the legacy of colonialism and the role of women in Brazil’s history. 

Toma Selivanova’s debut Dolomite and Ash is a visceral, visually compelling insight into one of the darkest periods in 20th century Russia. In a semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical reflection, a young filmmaker wants to make a film about the legacy of the Gulag, an infamous network of Soviet forced labour camps where most of Stalinist repressions took place. The film has its world premiere in the Bright Future programme. 

Blackbird Blackbird Blackbird screens in Harbour a – subtly revolutionary portrait of sexual awakening and social resistance. Based on the acclaimed feminist novel, Georgian filmmaker Elene Naveriani conjures a gleaming, delicate drama. The IFFR Young Selectors, local creatives who curate their own programmes, chose the film for a special evening at KINO on 1 February with a panel discussion and afterparty. 

We caught up with Naveriani to learn more about their process and the impact of the HBF support. Read the interview below. 

Read the Elene Naveriani interview here

Find out more about films in selection

Cinema Regained

Two titles also remind us of the fund’s lasting impact over more than 30 years, screening in IFFR’s living film history strand. Newly restored versions of two films by Estonian filmmaker Sulev Keedus will screen at the festival in the director’s presence: Georgica (1998) and Somnambulance (2003), two works of sensual, contemplative cinema. 


The Hubert Bals Fund is active in the festival’s industry activities, offering advice and informal guidance to filmmaking talent in the festival selection through networking roundtables in the form of Pro Encounters, as well as providing emerging producers in the Rotterdam Lab big picture perspective of industry transformation and challenges met by public funds internationally. A closed think-tank session will also take place, where the HBF team meets with selected industry delegates discussing and unpacking existing practices and how to best improve those for the future mission of the Hubert Bals Fund.

Head of the Hubert Bals Fund Tamara Tatishvili will speak on an industry panel in the Pro Hub, titled Cinematic Synergy, that will discuss how filmmakers can effectively merge their creativity and business development to connect their projects to funders, co-producers, commissioning editors, sales, and, later on, to press and audiences. 

The session is open to all badge-holders and takes place on Sunday 28 January at 15.00 in the Pro Hub. 

IFFR Pro Dialogue: Cinematic Synergy

CineMart & Darkroom

Two supported projects are presented at IFFR's co-production market CineMart. Cloud of the Unknown, by Yuan Gao, asks: “what if our dreams were the key to our real self and the door to a better world?” The project received Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) development support in 2019. 

Also presented is A Distant House Smokes on the Horizon, the first fiction feature by Tiger Award-winning Chinese filmmaker Shengze Zhu (Present.Perfect, 2019), where on a sweltering summer day, three troubled teenagers set out on a reckless plan to escape the confines of their small town.

Darkroom is IFFR Pro's work-in-progress programme, presenting nearly-completed former CineMart and HBF projects. One of the projects presented Mongrel is directed by Taiwan-based Singaporean filmmaker Wei Liang. In the mountains of Taiwan, Oom, an undocumented migrant, struggles to preserve his humanity as he cares for the elderly and disabled.

Read the CineMart 2024 lineup

Read the Darkroom 2024 lineup

Upcoming deadlines

Look ahead til after the festival and read through our support scheme deadlines via the link below. Deadlines are earlier than in previous years for both our HBF+Europe schemes (1 March) and our development scheme (10 July).

The latest version of the NFF+HBF guide is available, aiming to match-make between Dutch producers and HBF-backed projects. 

Upcoming deadlines

NFF+HBF Guide January 2024


Hubert Bals Fund

Hubert Bals Fund

A film fund dedicated to supporting filmmakers with forward-looking artistic vision

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