World Cinema Fund | Additional Information

Oct 29, 2019
Berlinale Spotlight: World Cinema Fund at the Berlin film festival “Around the World in 14 Films”

You Will Die at Twenty by Amjad Abu Alala – one of the films in the Berlinale Spotlight: World Cinema Fund programme

For many years now, the Berlinale has extended its presence beyond the festival season with specially curated programmes. These activities are known as Berlinale Spotlight. In 2018, the World Cinema Fund (WCF) - the Berlinale’s funding initiative - was a guest at Berlin’s “Around the World in 14 Films” festival for the first time. The presentation of the WCF films was highly popular with audiences.

This year, another Berlinale Spotlight: World Cinema Fund will be presented at “Around the World in 14 Films” (November 21 - 30, 2019). On November 24, 2019, five fiction films that were funded by the WCF will be screened - including four productions that celebrated their world premieres at internationally renowned festivals in 2019.

“I’m very pleased that we will be continuing our successful cooperation. The WCF programme we have put together this year for ‘Around the World in 14 Films’ wonderfully illustrates the versatility of cinematic aesthetics and the cultural diversity of WCF-funded film productions. It includes some of this year’s most successful WCF films,” comments Vincenzo Bugno, head of the World Cinema Fund.

Since its founding in October 2004 as an initiative of the Berlinale and the Federal Cultural Foundation, the WCF has been committed to the development and funding of the cinema in regions with weak cinema infrastructures, and to the promotion of cultural diversity in German and European cinema. Funding should contribute to the development of local film industries and support cooperation between German and other European producers with partners in WCF regions and countries. Active all-year, the World Cinema Fund is an expression of innovative European funding policies, and has funded 222 film projects to date (more here).

“The Spotlight programmes provide the Berlinale with the opportunity to make its multifaceted work concrete and experienceable beyond the festival in February. The presentation of the WCF films at ‘Around the World in 14 Films’ will give the Berlin audience an impression of what is going on in the cinematic world in some of the WCF-funded regions, and presents the results of the WCF’s cultural-political commitments,” comments Berlinale Executive Director Mariette Rissenbeek.

“The Berlinale World Cinema Fund supports high-quality cinematic artworks and diversity, opening a window onto lesser-known film regions of the world. We’re especially pleased to be able to cooperate once again to present and discuss these exciting films for the first time in Berlin,” commented Susanne Bieger and Bernhard Karl, the directorial team of “Around the World in 14 Films”.

The programme for Berlinale Spotlight: World Cinema Fund

A Febre (The fever)
Dir.: Maya Da-Rin
Brazil / France / Germany 2019
WCF–funded project 2017
Awards: 2019 Regis Myrup, Best Actor, and the Fipresci Award at the Locarno Film Festival; “Roberto Rossellini” Award for Best Film at the Pingyao Film Festival.

45-year-old Justino, a member of the indigenous Desana people, works as a security guard at Manaus harbour. Ever since the death of his wife, he spends most of his time with his youngest daughter, who lives with him on the outskirts of the city. When she begins preparing to move to Brasilia to study medicine, Justino comes down with a mysterious fever.

Dir.: Raya Martin
Philippines / France / Netherlands / Germany 2009
WCF-funded project 2008
Independencia is a relevant WCF funding recipient from the early years of the WCF. The black-and-white film, which received numerous awards, will be shown in its 35mm format.
Awards: 2009 “Golden Kinnaree Award” in the Southeast Asian Competition of the Bangkok International Film Festival, as well as the Special Jury Award and Critics’ Award at the Valdivia Film Festival.

The director participated in Berlinale Talents in 2005 and in the Berlinale Residency in 2012.

The Philippines at the start of the 20th century. The arrival of the Americans is signalled by the sounds of war. A mother and her son flee to the mountains, hoping for a quiet life. One day, the son discovers an injured woman in the middle of the forest and decides to bring her home with him. Years pass. The man, the rescued woman and their child live in total isolation. But an approaching storm soon threatens their existence, and American troops draw nearer...

The Orphanage
Dir: Shahrbanoo Sadat
Denmark / Germany / France / Luxembourg / Afghanistan 2019
WCF–funded project 2017
Award: 2019 award for Best Film at the Reykjavik International Film Festival.

In the late 1980s, 15-year-old Qodrat is living on the streets of Kabul, selling cinema tickets on the black market. He is a big fan of Bollywood and dreams about some of his favourite movie scenes. One day, the police brings him to the Soviet orphanage. However, the political situation in Kabul is changing. Qodrat and all the other orphanage children want to save their home.

Dir: Ala Eddine Slim
Tunisia / France 2019
WCF Europe–funded project 2018

When his mother dies, young Tunisian soldier S. receives permission to attend his mother’s burial. He seizes the opportunity to flee into the woods. He never returns to the army. A few years later, he meets a young pregnant woman. She has also fled - from a life of luxury as the wife of a rich businessman - and gets tangled up in the mysterious life of S.

You Will Die at Twenty
Dir: Amjad Abu Alala
Sudan / France / Egypt / Germany / Norway / Qatar 2019
WCF Africa–funded project 2017
The project also participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market in 2017.

Awards: 2019: “Premio De Laurentiis” for Best Debut Film at the Venice International Film Festival and the “Golden Star” award for Best Fiction Film at the El Gouna Film Festival.

A woman gives birth to a boy, Muzamel, in a Sudanese village. According to a prophecy, he will die at age 20. When he is young, Muzamel meets cinematographer Suliman, who has returned to the village. Suliman’s old film projector opens a door onto an entirely new world for Muzamel, and he slowly begins to doubt the prophecy.

The detailed programme, including a timetable, will be available starting on November 1, 2019 at:

The World Cinema Fund is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin International Film Festival, in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, with further support by the Goethe-Institut.

The special WCF Europe programme was launched with the support of the European Commission’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Thanks to additional funding from the German Federal Foreign Office, the special programme WCF Africa started in 2016.

Press Office
October 29, 2019