Berlinale: WCF News

World Cinema Fund News

Ana Brun and Margarita Irún in Las herederas (The Heiresses; Berlinale Competition 2018) by Marcelo Martinessi

Application Deadlines

  • Distribution funding: submission open only for films that will have their theatrical release in German cinemas in 2020

Read here about news and recent activities of the World Cinema Fund:

Since it was launched in October 2004 on the initiative of the Berlinale and the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the World Cinema Fund (WCF) has supported cinema from countries and regions that have no film industry or one marked by crisis. By doing so, the Berlinale WCF has committed itself to bringing cultural diversity to cinemas. So far the WCF has provided funding for more than 209 successful projects and films.

The WCF supports all fictional and documentary cinematic modes of expression that deal with depicting and/or interpreting reality. WCF-funding recommendations result from an intensive curatorial examination of the contemporary medium of film on a cultural and artistic level as well as in content. They also involve a sound analysis of production and financing structures. The WCF works throughout the year to enable talented directors to reach a global audience.

“Our world is getting harsher. As a funding institution we have to ask ourselves how we want to deal with this development. Since its foundation, the WCF has supported courageous projects, compelling stories, and original audiovisual modes of expression. Moreover, we believe this kind of support will take on even more importance in the future – which is why we want to make a lasting contribution to the visibility and production of such films,” says Vincenzo Bugno, WCF project manager.

The WCF is growing: both the number of submissions and of funded projects have risen substantially over the years. The WCF supported 26 films and film projects last year alone.

A strong showing at the festival: 6 WCF-funded films at the Berlinale 2019

Six radically different WCF-funded films from Latin America and Africa will be screening at the Berlinale 2019, including one cinema debut. They show the complexity of the world, existing conflicts, and violence.

Four of the films will have their world premieres at the festival.
WCF films do not have a special status at the Berlinale. They are also not required to premiere at the Berlinale.

WCF-funded films at the Berlinale 2019:


Flatland by Jenna Bass. South Africa / Luxemburg / Germany - Opening film, world premiere

Monos by Alejandro Landes. Columbia / Argentina / Netherlands / Denmark / Sweden / Germany / Uruguay / USA – European premiere

Divino Amor (Divine Love) by Gabriel Mascaro. Brazil / Uruguay / Chile / Denmark – European premiere

Talking About Trees by Suhaib Gasmelbari. France / Sudan / Germany / Chad / Qatar - Debut film, world premiere

Breve Historia del planeta verde (Brief Story from the Green Planet) by Santiago Loza. Argentina / Germany / Brazil / Spain – World premiere


Querência (Homing) by Helvécio Marins Jr.. Brazil / Germany – World premiere

The strong showing of WCF films at the Berlinale is proof of a successful last year:

The Paraguayan film Las Herederas by Marcelo Martinessi began its run with two Silver Bears at the Berlinale 2018. The film was then invited to many other festivals, where it won awards, and was ultimately sold to 35 countries. Other great successes were Rafiki from Kenya and A Kasha from Sudan, the Argentinian film Rojo, as well as the noteworthy Syrian film Still Recording.

World Cinema Fund Day at the Berlinale 2019

The WCF Day is the think tank of the World Cinema Fund. During its events the latest technological and structural developments in the film industry are debated in talks about films, panels, and discussions.

February 13 from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm
In English
Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Potsdamer Str. 2, 4th floor
Introduction / Moderator: Vincenzo Bugno (project manager WCF)

Focus on Brazil: Tales, Poetry and Drama

Director’s Talk
The Tenderness of the Cowboy. About Lights, Bulls and Rodeos
Discussion with director Helvecio Marins Jr. about his WCF-funded film Querência (Homing, Forum 2019)

After the Political Earthquake
Reflecting on Brazilian cinema present and future – financing, funding institutions, content, and freedom of expression. Political and economic developments can radically influence production conditions in the film industry. What happens next in Brazil?
Participants: Andrea Barata Ribeiro (producer), Marcelo Gomes (director), Pedro Butcher (film critic, Valor Econômico), Sara Silveira (producer), Eduardo Valente (Berlinale delegate), Ana Letícia Fialho (Cinema do Brasil)

Speculations on Potential Funding for Audience Building and Design

WCF Strategy Talk
The Art of Reaching Audiences
Participants: Sarah Calderón (EAVE, the Film Agency), Mercedes Fernandez (TorinoFilmLab), Vanja Kaludjercic (MUBI), Verena von Stackelberg (Wolf Kino Berlin), Paul Rieth (Audience Strategist, Marketing & Crowdfunding Consultant)
Moderator: Isona Admetlla (WCF)

Visibility and marketing strategies aiming to connect future viewers, films, and filmmakers can be developed early on during production. The relationship between a film and the viewer does not just begin with the actual release of a film. A talk about global distribution strategies that cover all channels and the role of funding institutions.

Cineuropa is proud to be Media Partner of the World Cinema Fund Day.
We thank the Robert Bosch Stiftung for supporting the WCF Day.

World Cinema Fund Market Strategies: WCF goes EFM

The successful cooperation with the EFM will not only be continued but also intensified. During the “Berlinale Africa Hub”, the European Film Market will co-host the event “BUFIS: Re-inventing African Cinema & Challenging Migration Narratives”. At the “DocSalon”, the WCF will speak out in favour of funding documentary film and meet with many people from the film industry. After achieving even greater popularity with buyers and festival programmers in 2018, the number of WCF Market Screenings has risen this year to include a record number of nine films.

At the 29th jury session of the World Cinema Fund (WCF), the juries recommended contributing to the funding of 13 film projects.

Four film projects - from Lebanon, Paraguay, Turkey and Costa Rica - have been proposed for production funding. Within the framework of the additional funding programme, WCF Europe, three recommendations were also announced for the production of projects from Venezuela, the Philippines and Tunisia. For the special programme WCF Africa, two more projects have been recommended for funding: one from Burkina Faso and one from Kenya.

Four recommendations were made for distribution funding. The Paraguayan film The Heiresses (Las herederas) by Marcelo Martinessi, which won the Silver Bear for Best Actress and the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize at the last Berlinale, will receive WCF Europe distribution funding for the release in France, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal and Argentina. Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya), The Reports On Sarah & Saleem by Muayad Alayan (Palestine) and Our Time (Nuestro tiempo) by Carlos Reygadas (Mexico) will receive WCF distribution funding for a German release.

Among the funding recommendations are four projects by Berlinale Talents alumni, as well as a film that participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

Since its establishment in October 2004, the WCF has awarded production and distribution funding to a total of 209 projects chosen from 3,587 submissions from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia, the Caucasus, as well as from the countries Mongolia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. All WCF-funded films produced to date have screened in cinemas and/or the programmes of renowned international film festivals, and are evidence of the initiative’s worldwide success.

Production and Distribution Funding

The WCF jury made their selection based on 135 submissions from a total of 50 countries. Their funding recommendations amount to 382,000 euros.

The jury members are producer and distributor Hania Mroué (Lebanon), documentary producer Marta Andreu (Spain), the producer Alexander Hassan Wadouh (Germany), and WCF project manager Vincenzo Bugno. For WCF Africa, they are joined by the additional jurors Alex Moussa Sawadogo (Burkina Faso), a producer, the festival director of Afrikamera and artistic director of Ouaga Film Lab; and Dorothee Wenner (Germany), the Berlinale delegate to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Production Funding WCF

Accordion Player, director: Özcan Alper (Turkey). Production: Nar Film (Turkey) and Unafilm (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €

Clara sola, director: Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (Costa Rica). Production: Pacífica Grey (Costa Rica) and Laïdak Films (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 50,000 €
The director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén participated in Berlinale Talents in 2017.

Érami. The Forest That Is the World, director: Paz Encina (Paraguay). Production: Silencio Cine (Paraguay). Feature film. Funding: 40,000 €

The River, director: Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon). Production: Khamsin Films (Lebanon) and Unafilm (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €

WCF Europe

WCF Europe has been made possible with the support of the European Commission’s Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme. Production funding has been recommended for:

El retorno del Señor Roque Thielen a la Isla Akare-Meru, director: Jorge Thielen Armand (Venezuela). Production: La Faena Films (Venezuela) and Viking Film (Netherlands). Feature film. Funding: 40,000 €
The director Jorge Thielen Armand participated in Berlinale Talents in 2018.

Tlamess, director: Ala Eddine Slim (Tunisia). Production: Exit Productions (Tunisia) and Still Moving (France). Feature film. Funding: 45,000 €

When the Waves Are Gone, director: Lav Diaz (Philippines). Production: Epicmedia Productions (Philippines) and Snowglobe (Denmark). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €

WCF Africa

WCF Africa, which grants funding for projects from Sub-Saharan Africa, was launched in 2016 thanks to additional funding from the German Federal Foreign Office. Recommendations for production funding:

Bufis, director: Mahad Ahmed (Kenya). Production: Cultural Video Production (Kenya) and Good Karma Fiction (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €

No Gold for Kalsaka, director: Michel K. Zongo (Burkina Faso). Production: Diam Production (Burkina Faso) and Film Five GmbH (Germany). Documentary. Funding: 30,000 €

Distribution Funding WCF

Our Time (Nuestro tiempo), director: Carlos Reygadas (Mexico).
Distribution: Grandfilm (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 10,000 €
German release: June 29, 2019

Rafiki, director: Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya).
Distribution: Salzgeber & Co. Medien GmbH (Germany). Feature film.
Funding: 10,000 €. German release: January 31, 2019
Rafiki was a project at the 2014 Berlinale Co-Production Market.

The Reports On Sarah & Saleem, director: Muayad Alayan (Palestine).
Distribution: missingFILMS (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 10,000 €
German release: March 15, 2019
The director Muayad Alayan participated in Berlinale Talents in 2016.

Distribution Funding WCF Europe

Las herederas (The Heiresses), director: Marcelo Martinessi (Paraguay).
World sales: Luxbox (France).
Distribution: Rouge International (France), Edge Entertainment (Sweden), Cinemas Nueva Era (Mexico), Nitrato Films (Portugal) and Varsovia Films (Argentina). Feature film. Funding: 27,000 €.
The director Marcello Martinessi participated in Berlinale Talents in 2013.


Head of the WCF
Vincenzo Bugno

Assistance Project Management
Isona Admetlla

Assistance – Funded Projects
Antje Glawe

Potsdamer Platz 11
10785 Berlin
phone +49 30 25920-516
fax +49 30 25920-529