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HBF+Europe 2024 selections

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Ten projects are the latest to be awarded by the Hubert Bals Fund’s HBF+Europe support schemes. Each receives €60,000 – eight for co-production and two for post-production. The selection comes with a strong commitment to emerging talent, supporting a majority of first or second time feature filmmakers and covering a wide geographical spread, with filmmakers from Singapore, Turkey, Lebanon, Chile, Tunisia, Mexico and Argentina.

Concept still: Marie & Jolie

Alongside its latest support round, the fund recognises previous recipients of the scheme, including All We Imagine as Light by Payal Kapadia which is set to premiere in Competition in the Cannes Official Selection, capping five HBF and IFFR-backed titles screening across the Cannes selections in 2024.

“Elevating the crucial importance of multicultural cooperation.”

Tamara Tatishvili, Head of the Hubert Bals Fund

Tamara Tatishvili, Head of the Hubert Bals Fund: “While demonstrating an impressive range of artistic approaches, all the projects in this selection call for the need to make our world a better place, elevating the crucial importance of multicultural cooperation. Each production team follows a complex path to bring projects to fruition, and in cases like the two supported projects from Argentina, these funds will prove crucial to realising ambitious, artistically driven work. I am proud to make the HBF part of these strong collaborative efforts between international producers and selected filmmakers.”

HBF+Europe schemes

Through HBF+Europe, the fund uses support from the Creative Europe – MEDIA programme of the European Union to encourage European producers to participate as a co-producer in film projects by filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. The HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production Support scheme provides advanced financing for production, whilst HBF+Europe: Post-production Support helps consolidate funding once shooting is complete. 

About the latest selections 

The topic of migration and cross-cultural exchange is present throughout the selection, notably in Love Conquers All by Danielle Arbid: a defiant love story set in Beirut between a young undocumented Sudanese migrant and an older local woman, set to be played by actress Hiam Abbas. Marie & Jolie similarly deals with movements of people, centred around women in the Sub-Saharan evangelical community in Tunisia and the dilemmas that arise from welcoming a refugee child – directed by Erige Sehiri (Under the Fig Trees, 2022). 

Two of the projects selected are Netherlands co-productions, both debut features. As Shadows Fade by Turkish filmmaker Burcu Aykar is a poetic, multilayered narrative that deals with queer issues and women’s liberation in 1990s Turkey, and is co-produced by Amsterdam’s Isabella Films. Set in an all-girls school in Singapore, Amoeba by Siyou Tan is supported for the third time by the HBF, following development and NFF+HBF funding, and is co-produced with Rotterdam’s Volya Films. 

HBF + Europe 2024 stills

For his debut fiction, Mexican filmmaker Bruno Santamaría (Things We Dare Not Do, 2020) presents a 90s-set coming-of-age story that deals with stigma around HIV in Seis meses en el edificio rosa con azul. Another period coming-of-age tale is Hijas únicas by debut filmmaker Alba Gaviraghi, set amidst the student protests in Chile in 2006. 

The ghosts of the 19th century Paraguay War haunt the community living in the north east of the country in El mundo es nuestro (formerly Cerro Corá at CineMart 2023) by Argentinian filmmaker Francisco Márquez (La larga noche de Francisco Sanctis, 2016, Un crimen común, 2020) whose latest project touches on resistance, land rights and Indigeneity, blending elements of memory and fantasy. 

The second supported director from Argentina is experimental analogue filmmaker Sofía Petersen, whose debut feature Olivia tackles the theme of disappearance in a unique, mystical style. The project was shot on 16mm in the Tierra del Fuego with a crew of six and a cast of over thirty nonactors, and is one of the two projects selected for the HBF+Europe: Post-production scheme. 

Agora, the latest by Ala Eddine Slim (The Last of Us, 2016, Tlamess, 2019), is the second project supported for post-production. The project deals with the issue of those returning from abroad to Tunisia, playing with genre elements of thriller and mystery as missing characters begin to show up in a distant and secluded town. 

One of the eight projects selected for Co-production Support must remain anonymous.

HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production Support selection 2024

Amoeba dir. Siyou Tan, Singapore, Netherlands, France, Spain 
Lead producer: Akanga Film Asia (Singapore)
Applicant producer: Volya Films (Netherlands)

In a repressive city-state, a tomboy schoolgirl persuades three classmates at an all-girls school to rebel by forming a triad gang.

As Shadows Fade dir. Burcu Aykar, Turkey, Germany, Netherlands, Norway
Lead producer: Liman Film (Turkey)
Applicant producer: Isabella Films (Netherlands)

Trapped by the Turkish heteronormative family ideal, Esin lives unaware of her passions. When she falls for the fiery, playful Deniz, a distant family friend who takes refuge in their house, she discovers the possibility of a genuine life. Their intimacy pushes her to transcend her boundaries.

Hijas únicas dir. Alba Gaviraghi, Chile, Argentina, Germany
Lead producer: Agosto Cine (Chile) 
Applicant producer: Nabis Films (Germany)

Santiago, 2006. Student protests explode in the streets, reggaeton vibrates in the disco, and in the middle of it all: Antonia (15) with her classmates preparing their dream school trip to Bariloche. A journey that will force Antonia to search for a father she doesn’t know and eventually discover the truth about her mother.

Love Conquers All dir. Danielle Arbid, Lebanon, France
Lead producer: Abbott Productions (Lebanon)
Applicant producer: Easy Riders Films (France)

Suzanne, a 65-year-old widow, meets Osmane one rainy night in Beirut. He’s 25, black, Sudanese, an immigrant worker. She’s white, Palestinian born in Lebanon, twice his age. They fall in love.

Marie & Jolie dir. Erige Sehiri, France, Tunisia
Lead producer: Henia Production (Tunisia)
Applicant producer: Maneki Films (France)

Three Ivorian women, Marie (42), Naney (27) and Jolie (23), live together in Tunis in a home that also serves as a restaurant in the evening and an evangelical church during the day. Their decision to welcome Kenza (4), a child rescued from the desert, leads these three women to question their places in this blended family and in this country in crisis.

El mundo es nuestro dir. Francisco Márquez, Argentina, Brazil, France 
Lead producer: Pensar con las Manos (Argentina)
Applicant producer: Altamar Films (France)

Osmar and his family move to a rural community seeking a better life. As he connects spiritually with the land, he discovers the power of time travel, using it to lead a resistance against police eviction and reclaim their home.

Seis meses en el edificio rosa con azul dir. Bruno Santamaría, Mexico, Denmark, France, Brasil
Lead producer: Ojo de Vaca (Mexico)
Applicant producer: Snowglobe (Denmark)

Mexico City, 1996. When Bruno turns 12 his parents take him to the shooting of Romeo + Juliet. Bruno gets a crush on Romeo, and on his best friend Vladimir. When Bruno’s father is diagnosed with HIV, Vladimir stops talking to him. After six months, the diagnosis turns out to be a mistake from the hospital. His father won’t die.

Anonymous project

HBF+Europe: Post-production Support selection 2024

Agora dir. Ala Eddine Slim, Tunisia, France, Saudi Arabia
Lead producer: Exit Films (Tunisia)
Applicant producer: Cinenovo (France)

The return of three missing persons to their hometown will upset the established order. The news must be kept quiet, but the plot thickens and several people become involved. All this takes place in the imaginary dream of a blue bitch and a black crow.

Olivia dir. Sofía Petersen, Argentina, UK, Spain
Lead producer: Animitas (Argentina)
Applicant producer: Vitrine Filmes (Spain)

Alone in the mountains; Olivia, her father, and their home. By the foothills, a slaughterhouse, where Father works. When Father disappears Olivia descends the mountains in his search.

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