World Cinema Fund

Jan 29, 2024
World Cinema Fund with Twelve Films in the Berlinale Programme / WCF Day 2024 / German Federal Cultural Foundation Extends and Increases Funding

Pepe by Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias

The World Cinema Fund (WCF) was founded in 2004 on the initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlinale to fund high-quality filmmaking in countries with a weak film infrastructure and at the same time to promote cultural diversity in German cinemas. The WCF quickly established itself as one of the leading institutions in the field of international film funding for innovative productions and will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in November 2024.

An impressive number of twelve very diverse WCF-funded films have been selected for the Berlinale 2024 programme – from the Dominican Republic, Iran, Brazil, Senegal, Colombia, Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, Argentina, and Malaysia. Twelve geographically, culturally and artistically different films, with strong narratives and artistic identities, screening across almost all festival sections.

The WCF set out with the aim of developing effective strategies for the democratisation of global film production. Twenty years ago, a substantial presence of works from the WCF regions in the global North was rare, and the connection with the audience was not guaranteed. At last year’s Berlinale, the Panorama Audience Award went to Sira by a female director, Apolline Traoré, a film from Burkina Faso. Would something like this have been possible in the last century? Awareness has led to a further realisation: You cannot talk about democratising without talking about the decolonising of the film industry and relations between the different regions.

The increasing success of WCF films with critics and audiences cannot be denied, especially when we look through the programmes of the most recognised international festivals. The WCF endeavours to develop and strengthen global visibility and audience strategies, whilst still believing in cinemas and festivals as places for experiencing human, social and artistic togetherness.

Federal Cultural Foundation Extends Funding for the WCF as a “Kultureller Leuchtturm” until 2029

Since 2004, the Federal Cultural Foundation has been funding top cultural institutions and event series as so-called Kulturelle Leuchttürme”. The WCF is delighted that the Federal Cultural Foundation decided in December 2023 to extend funding the WCF until 2029 and to increase the funding amount.

“We are very grateful that the Federal Cultural Foundation believed in the WCF project from the very beginning and supported it with great commitment. The more than 350 WCF-funded films over the past 20 years are evidence of exciting and diverse cinematic art, of opening up new perspectives, of exchange and dialogue. Our work requires continuity, coupled with precise attention to the sectoral changes in the often very different countries of the WCF. We are delighted to be able to continue this work with the support of the Federal Cultural Foundation,” says Vincenzo Bugno, head of the WCF.

WCF-Funded Films at the Berlinale 2024

WCF-funded films are the result of decidedly unique co-productions and confirm, despite structural difficulties, the productive nature of certain regions. Africa, for example, has been invited with four films to different festival sections. The internal synergies within the Berlinale Pro* continue to play an important role for the WCF and WCF-funded films, which can benefit from a potential collaboration with the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and the European Film Market (EFM).

The works funded by the WCF are not automatically invited to screen at the festival but undergo the same selection process as all other films. Last year, WCF-funded films were successful at the festivals in Cannes, Locarno and Venice, among others.


by Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
Dominican Republic / Namibia / Germany / France
World premiere

Keyke mahboobe man (My Favourite Cake)
by Maryam Moghaddam, Behtash Sanaeeha
Iran / France / Sweden / Germany
World premiere


by Mamadou Dia
Senegal / Germany
World premiere

Cidade; Campo
by Juliana Rojas
Brazil / Germany / France
World premiere


Tongo Saa (Rising Up at Night)
by Nelson Makengo
Democratic Republic of the Congo / Belgium / Germany / Burkina Faso / Qatar
World premiere | Documentary form | Debut film

Sayyareye dozdide shodeye man (My Stolen Planet)
by Farahnaz Sharifi
Germany / Iran
World premiere | Documentary form

Yo vi tres luces negras (I Saw Three Black Lights)
by Santiago Lozano Álvarez
Colombia / Mexico / France / Germany
World premiere | Debut film

Cu Li Không Bao Giờ Khóc (Cu Li Never Cries)
by Phạm Ngọc Lân (Vietnam)
Vietnam / Philippines / France / Singapore / Norway
World premiere | Debut film


Oasis of Now
by Chee Sum Chia
Malaysia / Singapore / France
European premiere | Debut film

by Lola Arias (Argentina)
Argentina / Germany / Switzerland
World premiere | Documentary form

As noites ainda cheiram á pôlvora (The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder)
by Inadelso Cossa
Mozambique / Germany / France / Portugal / Netherlands / Norway 2024
World premiere | Documentary form


Disco Afrika: une histoire malgache (Disco Afrika: A Malagasy Story)
by Luck Razanajaona
France / Madagascar / Germany / Mauritius / South Africa / Qatar
European premiere | Debut film

World Cinema Fund Day: February 21, 2024

WCF Day is the World Cinema Fund’s public think-tank. The panels and discussions focus on film culture, production conditions in the funded regions, structural changes and funding strategies, as well as on new key aspects of the WCF funding strategies and the presentation of new WCF-funded projects and films.

21. Februar 2024
HAU2, Hallesches Ufer 34, 10963 Berlin

(Limited capacity. RSVP to )

WCF DAY in cooperation with Berlinale Talents
Diversity as a Self-Evidence – 20 Years World Cinema Fund:

Dealing with the complexity of the world – Enjoying the multiplicity of cinema languages

14:30 Introduction(s)

Keynote Speech by Elisabeth Mansfeld (Senior Strategic Advisor): “World Cinema Fund: Cinema & Beyond”

15:00 Director’s Talk / About Pepe, in Competition at the Berlinale 2024
Pepe: A Hippopotamus as Main Character

Encounters, misunderstandings, improvisations
Vincenzo Bugno (WCF) in conversation with director Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias

16:15 Talk 1 / The Charm of the Minority
How to deal with minority co-productions
State of things, financing, prospectives
with Christoph Friedel (Producer, Germany), Giovanni Pompili (Producer, Italy), Marion Wagner (Hessen Film & Medien, Germany) and other guests
Moderated by Marjorie Bendeck

17:15 Talk 2 / Dealing with Africa(s)
Is time on our side?
New voices, new stories, new realities in African Cinema
with the directors Mamadou Dia (Senegal), Inadelso Cossa (Mozambique), Luck Razanajaona (Madagascar), Nelson Makengo (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Moderated by Dorothee Wenner, filmmaker and curator

More information on the programme and the guests of the WCF Day 2024 available shortly before the beginning of the festival on the WCF website.

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 and with further support by the Goethe-Institut.
The special WCF Europe programme was launched with the support of the European Union's Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Thanks to additional funding from the German Federal Foreign Office, the special programme WCF Africa was started in 2016.

The complementary programme WCF ACP is funded with the financial contribution of the European Union and the support of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the ACP-EU Culture Programme.

Press Office
January 29, 2024