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Rotterdam, 22 May 2017

IFFR's Hubert Bals Fund announces spring 2017 selection

This spring, the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) selects 11 projects from both debut talents and established filmmakers, all receiving a contribution of  €10,000 for script and project development. Dutch producers Keplerfilm and KeyFilm have been selected for the NFF+HBF co-production scheme. They each receive a contribution of €50,000 from the Netherlands Film Fund towards the realisation of the co-production of a film supported by the Hubert Bals Fund. 

Having rethought its industry activities in 2016, bundling all its industry initiatives within IFFR PRO, the Hubert Bals Fund presented its new policies and guidelines last January. Wishing to improve the impact of its support and to address the current needs of filmmakers and the industry, innovations include two separate schemes for script and project development: HBF Bright Future for feature films by debut and second-time filmmakers, and HBF Voices for feature films by filmmakers more advanced in their careers. The support for four projects has been made possible by the NFF+HBF co-development scheme (see below).  

Within the HBF Voices scheme, the new project Hymns by Babak Jalali, who won the IFFR Hivos Tiger Award 2016 for Radio Dreams, has been selected. New projects by established filmmakers Ricardo Silva (Navajazo, 2014) and Deepak Rauniyar – whose White Sun (HBF 2013, IFFR 2017) experienced a successful festival tour after premiering at the Venice Film Festival 2016 – will receive support under this scheme. HymnsSleepwalk (Silva) and Raja (Rauniyar) all have been granted script and project development funding of €10,000. 

Among the HBF Bright Future projects receiving €10,000 are the feature films by unique self-taught talent from India Arun Karthick (The Strange Case of Shiva, IFFR 2016), Nasir, and Regretfully at Dawn by Tiger Award winning director Sivaroj Kongsakul (Eternity, HBF 2009, IFFR 2011). Estate, the new project of South-African filmmaker John Trengove (The Wound, HBF 2014, NFF+HBF 2014, Berlinale 2017), is selected for support as well. Two exciting debut films are also supported: Omar Elzohairy’s Feathers of a Father, an Egyptian absurdist dark comedy, and the intriguing experimental project La niña del rayo by Argentinean filmmaker Luz Olivares Capelle.  

For the NFF+HBF co-production scheme – a joint initiative by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund – film projects coproduced by two Dutch producers were selected, both for the first time. The team behind The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (Muayad Alayan, HBF 2016) found their Dutch co-producer KeyFilm through the BoostNL initiative in September 2016. Dutch producer Keplerfilm co-produces Almost in Love by Leonardo Brzezicki (HBF 2016, CineMart 2017) with Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Both projects receive a production grant of €50,000. 

Head of IFFR PRO, Marit van den Elshout, on the selection: “It has been an exciting selection process in the new IFFR PRO setup and it is good to see that we have actual results from the connections we aim to make between funding (HBF), mentoring on projects (Boost NL) and our market (CineMart). It will be exciting to follow these projects throughout the different stages and to offer support where needed through the various other IFFR PRO initiatives.” 

Script & Project Development: Bright Future

Baby, Marcelo Caetano – Brazil

Estate, John Trengove – South Africa. Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme

Feathers of a Father, Omar Elzohairy – Egypt, France. Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme

My Dear Valentín, Jazmín López – Argentina

Nasir, Arun Karthick – India

La niña del rayo, Luz Olivares Capelle – Argentina, Austria

Regretfully at Dawn, Sivaroj Kongsakul – Thailand

The Stranger, Yang Zhengfan – China 

Script & Project Development: Voices

Hymns, Babak Jalali – Mexico. Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme

Raja, Deepak Rauniyar – Nepal. Supported via NFF+HBF co-development scheme

Sleepwalk, Ricardo Silva – Mexico, USA 

Selection NFF+HBF Co-production Scheme

Almost in Love, Leonardo Brzezicki – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Netherlands (Dutch co-producer: Keplerfilm)

The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, Muayad Alayan – Palestine, Germany, Norway, France, Netherlands (Dutch co-producer: KeyFilm)



The Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 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 at various major festivals around the world.   

The NFF+HBF Co-Production Scheme (previously HBF Plus) is a joint programme of the Netherlands Film Fund and IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund that has been successfully stimulating Dutch producers to get involved in international co-productions supported by the Hubert Bals Fund. Since 2006, the Netherlands Film Fund annually supports four film projects per year in this scheme. In 2017 the partnership was extended with a new scheme: the NFF+HBF Co-Development Scheme. Ten projects selected for HBF Script & Project development are financed per year by this scheme. 

The Hubert Bals Fund is supported by the Creative Europe-MEDIA programme of the European Commission, the Human Rights Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hivos, the Dioraphte Foundation and the Lions Club Rotterdam: L’Esprit du Temps.

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