In the 34th jury session of the Berlinale World Cinema Fund (WCF), the juries made ten funding recommendations for projects from Afghanistan, Argentina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cape Verde, Colombia, Malaysia, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkey. The current funding amounts to a total of 460,000 Euros. Even in these dire global times the WCF is willing and able to support independent cinema even more strongly and to promote the visibility of the cultural complexity of our world. The WCF has also awarded the WCFEurope –TFL Audience Design Award, in cooperation with the TorinoFilmLab (TFL).
Vincenzo Bugno, head of WCF said: “The current selection of films recommended for funding is characterised by very different and inspiring projects. Both fiction and documentary formats enthusiastically explore the medium of film, searching for their own cinematic language. The films are strongly contextualised in the history and the contemporary sociopolitics of their individual regions, and many are dedicated to unique female characters. I'm very pleased that the WCF can advocate for these films."
WCF-funded films are regularly invited to international film festivals and four films are taking part in the Cannes Film Festival, with three more to be included in the Locarno Film Festival line-up. They include, in Cannes the Doha Film Institute grant recipient Noche de Fuego by Tatiana Huezo and Feathers by Omar el Zohairy, the latter walked away with the Nespresso Grand Prize at Critics’ Week; and in Locarno Al Naher (The River) by Ghassan Salhab, and the DFI grantee Whether the Weather is Fine by Carlo Francisco Manatad.
For the 34th Jury Session, the WCF jury made its selection from 201 submitted projects from a total of 52 countries. The funding recommendations encompass funding in the amount of 460,000 Euros.
Two directors have participated in Berlinale Talents in the past, one project was presented at the Talents Project Market in 2021.
The members of the jury are the documentary film producer and documentary creative advisor Marta Andreu (Spain), the producer Zsuzsanna Kiràly (Germany / Austria), film scholar and curator Viola Shafik (Germany / Egypt) and Vincenzo Bugno (Italy / Germany), the head of the WCF. Additionally, the jurors for WCF Africa are the producer, festival director of the pan-African film festival FESPACO and the Berlin festival Afrikamera, Alex Moussa Sawadogo (Burkina Faso) and the Berlinale delegate for Sub-Saharan Africa Dorothee Wenner (Germany).
The SWANA region projects among the recommendations include:
Balkaya, Director: Emin Alper (Turkey). Production: Zola & Liman (Turkey), Nadir Öperli and Pola Pandora (Germany), Viola Fügen. Feature film -- Funding: € 40,000.
Kamay, director: Shahrokh Bikaran (Afghanistan). Production: Kamay Film (Afghanistan), Ilyas Yourish, Documentary form -- Funding: € 30,000.
Under the Fig Trees, director: Erige Sehiri (Tunisia). Production: Henia Production (Tunisia), Erige Sehiri. Feature film -- Funding: € 30,000.
Olfa’s Daughters, (see photo above) director: Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia). Production: Cinetelefilms (Tunisia), Habib Attia and Twenty Twenty Films (Germany), Thanassis Karathanos. Documentary form -- Funding: € 30,000.
Since 2004, the Berlinale World Cinema Fund has been successfully supporting film production in regions characterised by an insufficient film infrastructure by virtue of its increasingly differentiated funding programme (WCF, WCF Europe, WCF Africa, WCF ACP) and advocating cultural diversity in German cinemas. The cooperation between production companies from the production regions or countries and German / European production companies is supported as well. The WCF application deadline for production funding was July 5th.
For more info check out their page on the Berlinale website.