This spring, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)'s Hubert Bals Fund(HBF) has selected 11 projects by both upcoming talents and established filmmakers to receive €10,000 each for Script and Project Development. Additionally, two co-productions have been selected for the NFF+HBF Co-Production Scheme and receive €50,000 each from the Netherlands Film Fund. The Dutch producers working on these two projects are Keplerfilm and Rinkel Film.
Marit van den Elshout, head of IFFR PRO: “This year feels extra special to us, because 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the Hubert Bals Fund – a good moment to reflect on what we have accomplished in supporting quality independent cinema since 1988. This year, we received a remarkably high number of applicants with project proposals of exceptional quality. We’ll just take it as an indicator of our success that our shortlist was not short at all. I’m happy to say that we have selected two new projects from previous winners of IFFR’s Tiger Competition as well as four feature film debuts, among other projects.”
The HBF’s Script and Project Development scheme is divided into two sections: 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. All projects receive a €10,000 grant.
Two of the filmmakers selected for the HBF Bright Future scheme have had a previous feature film screened at IFFR: Bosnian filmmaker Dane Komljen (All the Cities of the North, HBF 2013, IFFR 2017) receives a grant for his project Desire Lines and Juri Rechinsky (Ugly, IFFR 2017) receives a grant for Utopia. Senegalese filmmaker Mamadou Dia, whose short Samedi Cinema screened at IFFR 2017, is now supported for his feature film debut Nafi’s Father. Other selected feature film debuts are The Landscapes That You Seek by Colombian filmmaker Juanita Onzaga, La hija de todas las rabias by Nicaraguan filmmaker Laura Baumeister and Tiger Stripes by Malaysian filmmaker Amanda Nell Eu. Chinese artist and filmmaker Qiu Jiongjiong receives support for his project The Neo-new Adventures.
Four films have been selected within the HBF Voices scheme. Among them are the new projects of two previous Tiger winners: Come Here by Thai filmmaker Anocha Suwichakornpong (who won a Tiger Award at IFFR 2010 for her debut Mundane History) and Gemelos celestiales by American filmmaker Niles Atallah (whose Rey won the Special Jury Award in the Tiger Competition of IFFR 2017 and was supported by HBF in 2013). Alexis Dos Santos is supported for his project The Sex Life of Dolls. The Argentinian filmmaker has a strong tie with the festival; his film Glue received HBF support in 2004 and 2005 and two of his films were presented at CineMart (Unmade Beds in 2007 and Random Strangers in 2010). Border Bride by Chinese artist and filmmaker Wang Bing is also supported in HBF Voices. Wang has a longstanding connection to IFFR as well: next to his filmmaking debut Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks – Part One: Rust (supported by the HBF in 2002) his films received HBF grants in 2003 (The Ditch, also presented at CineMart 2006), 2007 (Crude Oil) and 2014 (Bitter Money).
The NFF+HBF Co-Production Scheme is a joint initiative by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund. Two grants of €50,000 are awarded to two projects with Dutch co-production partners. Both selected projects previously received HBF support for development in 2017. Feathers of a Father by Egyptian filmmaker Omar Elzohairy is co-produced by Keplerfilm and Nasir by self-taught Indian filmmaking talent Arun Karthick (The Strange Case of Shiva, IFFR 2016) is co-produced by Rinkel Film. From September 2017 through January 2018, Karthick participated in the BoostNL programme with Nasir.
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 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 and Project development are financed per year by this scheme.