International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)’s Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) has selected eleven film projects for its Script and Project Development Scheme, which together will receive €115,000. Among the selected titles is a new work by Apichatpong Weerasethakul entitled Memoria.
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the fund is supporting three filmmakers who have built up a special connection to HBF over the years, in recognition of their continued dedication to creating quality cinema. They are Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Lisandro Alonso and Benjamín Naishtat. Weerasethakul presented his unique immersive experience SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL at IFFR 2018. Tilda Swinton is among the cast for his new project, Memoria.
Alongside these familiar names, IFFR is supporting seven promising new filmmakers within HBF Bright Future, including Prantik Basu, Aboozar Amini and Sara Ishaq. These filmmakers represent a wide regional spread, and four of them are women.
Marit van den Elshout, head of IFFR Pro: “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.”
This is particularly evident in the case of Oleg Sentsov. He remains locked up in a Siberian prison and will be supported for his project Numbers in collaboration with Akhtem Seitablaev.
Also among the filmmakers selected is Indian filmmaker Prantik Basu, whose short film Sakhisona won a Tiger Short Award in 2017. His first feature-length project Dengue will tell the story of an unlikely romance set in Calcutta. Afghan documentary filmmaker Aboozar Amini has previously screened two films at IFFR and now receives support for his first fiction film Ways to Run, about a 16-year-old apprentice bus driver in Kabul. His recent Kabul, City in the Wind is the opening film of International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam on 14 November 2018. Yemenite filmmaker Sara Ishaq is another documentary filmmaker supported in a first foray into fiction. Her film The Station will tell the story of a 15-year-old girl managing a women-only petrol station in war-torn Yemen.
All titles selected for the HBF Script and Development Scheme, Fall 2018:
Bright Future – upcoming filmmakers with their first or second feature film
- Dengue, Prantik Basu, India (Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme)
- Do Fish Sleep with Their Eyes Open?, Nele Wohlatz, Argentina/Brazil
- From Guiné, Caroline Leone, Brazil (Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme)
- Raja's Early Summer, Zi Gao, China (Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme)
- The Station, Sara Ishaq in collaboration with Nadia Eliewat, Yemen/Jordan
- Ways to Run, Aboozar Amini, Afghanistan/Netherlands
Voices – filmmakers who are more advanced in their careers
- Eureka, Lisandro Alonso, Argentina/France/Brazil/Netherlands/Germany/Spain/USA (Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme)
- Memoria, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Colombia/Thailand/UK
- Numbers, Oleg Sentsov in collaboration with Akhtem Seitablaev, Ukraine/Poland
- La rosa de cobre, Benjamín Naishtat, Argentina (Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme)
* The project This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho/South Africa) was initially selected for the HBF Script and Development Scheme, Fall 2018: Bright Future. The project has been withdrawn after the announcement of its selection for the Biennale College Cinema programme of the Venice International Film Festival in December 2018, in order to abide by the funding obligations of the programme.
The Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam provides financial support to remarkable feature films by innovative and talented filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. Since the fund’s establishment in 1988, more than 1,100 projects have received support. Each year, a rich harvest of films supported by the HBF is presented at IFFR and various major festivals around the world. Three titles previously supported by HBF have already been selected for IFFR 2019.
Photo in header: Still of Raja's Early Summer by Zi Gao