The Berlinale is pleased that the German Federal Cultural Foundation will continue to support the World Cinema Fund (WCF) of the Berlinale until the end of 2011.
The Foundation’s board under the chairmanship of the Minster of State for Culture Bernd Neumann agreed at its last meeting to extend its funding of the World Cinema Fund and so secured the WCF’s existence for another two years.
“We are delighted! With the Cultural Foundation’s support we will be able to continue the WCF’s successful funding programme. Thanks to the World Cinema Fund’s pragmatic and effective strategies, the WCF has since its inception funded a whole string of successful films that have been both artistically fascinating and competitively viable,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.
All WCF films produced to date have screened in cinemas and/or in the programmes of renowned international film festivals.
The Berlinale competition entry and multiple prizewinner Paradise Now was one of the first films funded by the WCF: awarded a Golden Globe and nominated for an Oscar, it has been distributed in the interim to more than 50 countries. Another film supported by the WCF was Hamaca Paraguaya, the first film from Paraguay in more than 20 years. The Mexican film Silent Light by Carlos Reygadas won, among many other awards, the Jury Prize in the main competition of the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007; Filmphobia from Brazil and Dioses from Peru screened in the main competition in Locarno. The Turkish film Pandora’s Box was awarded Best Film at the San Sebastián Film Festival; the Peruvian film La teta asustada (The Milk of Sorrow) won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 2009. Four other WCF-funded films screened in this year’s Official Programme of the Festival de Cannes (Independencia from the Philippines, The Wind Journeys from Columbia, Huacho from Chile, and Ajami from Israel/Palestine)
Since the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlinale launched the WCF in October 2004, 1000 projects from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central and South East Asia, and the Caucasus have been submitted. 56 of them have received production or distribution funding.
The World Cinema Fund not only stands for the diversity of cinematic art in the regions funded by the WCF, but also for an ideal relationship between these regions, and producers and/or the film industry in Germany. Within a short time, the WCF has evolved into a cultural-political instrument for funding films, as well as an initiative for establishing international contacts within the business.
The World Cinema Fund is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin International Film Festival in cooperation with the Goethe Institute.
15 June 2009