Berlinale: News


World Cinema Fund News

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

Application Deadlines

  • Production funding: March 03, 2020
  • 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:

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.

Independencia
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.

Tlamess
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: https://14films.de/en/program-2/.

At the 30th jury session of the Berlinale World Cinema Fund (WCF), the juries recommended contributing to the funding of 13 film projects.

Four film projects - from Argentina, Ecuador and the Philippines - 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 Thailand, Colombia and Brazil. For the special programme WCF Africa, two more projects have been recommended for funding: one from Senegal and one from Nigeria and South Africa.

Four recommendations were made for distribution funding. The South African film The Harvesters by Etienne Kallos will receive WCF Europe distribution funding for the release in South Africa, Poland and France.

La familia sumergida by María Alche (Argentina), No Date no Signature by Vahid Jalilvand (Iran) and La Flor by Mariano LLinás (Argentina) will receive WCF distribution funding for a German release.

Among the funding recommendations are six projects by Berlinale Talents alumni.

Since its establishment in October 2004, the WCF has awarded production and distribution funding to a total of 222 projects chosen from 3,793 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 199 submissions from a total of 62 countries. Their funding recommendations amount to 386,400 €. The jury members are curator Anna Hoffmann (Germany), documentary producer Marta Andreu (Spain), producer Roman Paul (Germany), and Vincenzo Bugno, head of the WCF.

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

Eureka, director: Lisandro Alonso (Argentina). Production: 4L (Argentina) and Komplizen Film (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 50,000 €

Octopus Skin, director: Ana Cristina Barragán (Ecuador). Production: Caleidoscopio Cine (Ecuador) and unafilm (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 40,000 €
Director Ana Cristina Barragán participated in Berlinale Talents in 2018.

Las mil y una, director: Clarisa Navas (Argentina). Production: Varsovia Film (Argentina) and Autentika Films (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €

Aswang, director: Alyx Ayn Arumpac (Philippines). Production: Cinematografica Films (Philippines). Documentary. Funding: 37,000 €
Director Alyx Ayn Arumpac participated in Berlinale Talents in 2017.

WCF Europe

Royal Court, director: Julia da Simone (Brazil). Production: Anavilhana (Brazil) and Uma pedra no sapato (Portugal). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €

Anatomy of Time, director: Jakrawal Nilthamrong (Thailand). Production: Diversion (Thailand). Feature film. Funding: 40,000 €
Director Jakrawal Nilthamrong participated in Berlinale Talents in 2008.

La Jauría, director: Andrés Ramírez Pulido (Colombia). Production: Valiente Gracia (Colombia) and Alta Rocca Films (France). Feature film. Funding: 30,000 €
Director Andrés Ramírez Pulido participated in Berlinale Talents in 2017.

WCF Africa

The Legend of the Vagabond Queen of Lagos, director: Elijah Segun (Nigeria) and James Tyler (South Africa). Production: Slume Dwellers International (South Africa). Feature film. Funding: 40,000 €

Tribunal du Fleuve, director: Alassane Diago (Senegal). Production: Karokinka (Senegal) and maja.de (Germany). Documentary. Funding: 40,000 €

Distribution Funding WCF

La Flor, director: Mariano Llinás (Argentina). Distribution: Grandfilm (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 9,000 €. German release date: July 25, 2019

La familia sumergida, director: María Alche (Argentina). Distribution: Cine Global (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 6,000 €. German release date: August 1, 2019
Director María Alche participated in Berlinale Talents in 2015.

No Date no Signature, director: Vahid Jalilvand (Iran). Distribution: Farbfilm Verleih (Germany). Feature film. Funding: 8,000 €. German release date: June 20, 2019

Distribution Funding WCF Europe

The Harvesters, director: Etienne Kallos (South Africa). Distribution: Pyramide Distribution (France), Velvet Spoon (Poland), and Indigenous Films (South Africa). Feature film. Funding: 26,400 €
Director Etienne Kallos participated in Berlinale Talents in 2010 and 2014.

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:

Panorama:

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

Forum:

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)

Panel
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.

Contact

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