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Press Releases 69th Berlinale

World Cinema Fund

Nov 16, 2018:
Berlinale World Cinema Fund: Funding Recommendations for Projects from Lebanon, Paraguay, Turkey, Costa Rica, Venezuela, the Philippines, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Kenya

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.

The Heiresses (Las herederas) by Marcelo Martinessi,

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.

On November 25, the World Cinema Fund (WCF) will be a guest at Berlin’s “Around the World in 14 Films” festival. See here for detailed information on the programme.


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 was started in 2016.


Press Office
November 16, 2018

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