Hubert Bals Fund supports 24 film projects in thirteen countries

The Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has selected twenty-four film projects that receive grants for script development, digital production, postproduction, distribution or workshops. In its Fall 2010 selection, the Fund gives 349 thousand Euro to projects from thirteen Asian, African or Latin-American countries. The selection includes new films by acclaimed filmmakers such as Martín Rejtman, Enrique Rivero, James Lee and many first time filmmakers. (See full list below)

After a successful season with HBF supported films winning top awards in Cannes (Uncle Boonmee, Palme d’Or), Locarno (Winter Vacation, Golden Leopard) and Sarajevo (Tilva Ros, Heart of Sarajevo), the Fund’s Fall 2010 Selection Round includes remarkable projects by a promising line up of upcoming filmmakers.


In the postproduction category, the HBF has selected five film projects. Milagros Mumenthalers Ausencias (Argentina), coproduced by Waterland Film (The Netherlands), is a subtle début comedy about two sisters living in the house of their recently deceased grandmother. Miaoyan Zhang’s Black Blood (China) tells a powerful story of illegal blood selling in a remote desert area. Sanjeewa Pelanwattage’s début feature Flying Fish is one of two film projects in this selection round dealing with the aftermath of the conflicts in Sri Lanka’s Northern region. The other project, selected for script development support, is While Waiting for You by Prasanna Vithanage. Li Ruijun’s The Old Donkey (China) premiers in Pusan’s New Currents Section. Yulene Olaizola’s fiction feature début Artificial Paradises (Mexico) about a young girl’s battle against her drug addiction follows her successful documentary Shakespeare and Victor Hugo´s Intimacies (2008).

Digital production

In the digital production category, Mexican filmmaker Carlos Armella directs Las Voces (The Voices), exploring the contrast between documentary and fictional filmmaking in a father and son story set in a remote Mexican village. Armella co-directed Toro Negro (2005) with Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, whose second fictional feature project Tree Shade receives HBF script development support in this selection round. Gonzalez-Rubio won a 2010 Tiger Award for his Alamar.

Script development

The category of grants for script development includes Mai morire, second feature film project of Enrique Rivero, whose début work Parque vía won Locarno’s Golden Leopard in 2008. Rey (King) is Chilean director Niles Atallah’s second feature film about a Frenchman that becomes king of the Mapucho territory in southern Chile. Atallah’s début feature Lucia, also supported by the Hubert Bals Fund, competed this year in San Sebastian’s New Directors section. Promising Ukrainian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy receives support for his first feature film project Plemya (The Tribe), about a deaf mute teenager’s struggle to fit into the boarding school system.

Distribution & HBF Award

This selection round’s distribution category supports the screening of Iraqi filmmaker Oday Rasheed’s new film Qarantina in Baghdad as well as a research project that investigates the possibilities of screening independent cinema in Iraq. Encouraging independent filmmaking in India, the Fund will hand out its HBF Award for Best Film Project during the Goa Film Bazaar.

The line up of the IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund Fall 2010 Selection Round in full:

Postproduction & Final Financing

Ausencias (Absences) - Milagros Mumenthaler; Argentina
Black Blood - Miaoyan Zhang; China
Flying Fish - Sanjeewa Pelanwattage; Sri Lanka
The Old Donkey - Li Ruijun; China
Paraísos Artificiales (Artificial Paradises) - Yulene Olaizola; Mexico

Digital Production

If It Is Not Now, Then When? - James Lee; Malaysia
Ang mundo sa panahon ng bakal (Steel is the Earth) - Mes de Guzman; Philippines
Las voces (The Voices) - Carlos Armella; Mexico

Script & Project Development

Cactus Flower - Hala Elkoussy; Egypt
Conurbano - Gregorio Cramer; Argentina
Dos disparos (Two Shots) - Martín Rejtman; Argentina
Mai Morire - Enrique Rivero; Mexico
Marustali - Geethu Mohan Das; India
La mujer de barro (The Mud Woman) - Sergio Castro San-Martín; Chile
Niu Pi San (Oxhide 3) - Liu Jiayin; China
Rey (King) - Niles Atallah; Chile
Sombra del arbol (Tree Shade) - Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio; Mexico
Plemya (The Tribe) - Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy; Ukraine
While Waiting For You - Prasanna Vithanage; Sri Lanka


Amakula Mobile Cinema - Amakula Kampala IFF; Uganda
Qarantina - Oday Rasheed; Iraq
Year Without a Summer - Tan Chui Mui; Malaysia

Workshops/Special Projects

Goa Film Bazaar: HBF Award – NFDC ; India
Maisha Filmmakers and Technical Lab - Musarait Kashmiri; Uganda

Profile of the Hubert Bals Fund

Along with CineMart, the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) is part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). The 40th IFFR will take place January 26 – February 6, 2011. Year-round news on IFFR, HBF and CineMart can be found on the Professional's website of the IFFR.

The Hubert Bals Fund is designed to bring remarkable or urgent feature films and feature-length creative documentaries by innovative and talented filmmakers from developing countries closer to completion. The Hubert Bals Fund provides grants that often turn out to play a crucial role in enabling these filmmakers to realize their projects. Although the Fund looks closely at the financial aspects of a project, the decisive factors remain its content and artistic value. Since the Fund started in 1989, more than 900 projects from independent filmmakers in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America have received support. Approximately 80% of these projects have been realised or are currently in production. Every year, the IFFR screens completed films supported by the Fund. The audience favorite among the HBF supported films screening in the festival receives the Dioraphte Award of 10,000 Euro.

The Hubert Bals Fund is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch non-governmental development organizations Hivos-NCDO Culture Foundation, the DOEN Foundation and the Dioraphte Foundation

Grants and selection rounds

Annually, the Hubert Bals Fund has close to Euro 1 million at its disposal and is able to make individual grants of up to Euro 10,000 for script and project development, Euro 20,000 for digital production, Euro 30,000 for post-production, Euro 15,000 towards distribution costs in the country of origin or Euro 10,000 for special projects such as training workshops. Selection rounds take place twice a year and have application deadlines on March 1 and August 1.

Training, workshops, the Hubert Bals Fund Awards

The Fund supports training initiatives for filmmakers in co-production meetings around the world. Occasionally, the Hubert Bals Fund grants Awards to the most promising film project at these co-production meetings.