Sri Lanka’s Vimukthi Jayasundara and Guatemala’s César Díaz, winners of the Cannes Golden Camera for “The Forsaken Land” (2005) and “Nuestras madres” (2019) respectively, are among the recipients of the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of the International Film Festival Rotterdam‘s (IFFR) HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production Support scheme for 2022.
Out of 25 applications, six projects by filmmakers from Argentina, Egypt, Guatemala, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Yemen have been awarded a contribution of €60,000 ($60,854) each through their European co-producers in Austria, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.
ayasundara is supported for “Turtle’s Gaze on Spying Stars” (France/Sri Lanka, House on Fire), set on a mysterious resort where the protagonist must quarantine and reckon with his past on his return to Sri Lanka, while Díaz gets it for “Fidelidad” (Guatemala/Belgium, Lemming Film Belgium), a love triangle set on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.
In “The Station” (Yemen/Jordan/France/the Netherlands, Keplerfilm) by Yemeni-Scottish filmmaker Sara Ishaq (Oscar nominee for 2012’s “Karama Has No Walls”), the war in Yemen looms over a women-only petrol station, where the relationship between two sisters is pushed to breaking point amid a fuel crisis. The project’s development was previously supported by the HBF and it was presented at IFFR’s co-production market in 2020 where it won the Wouter Barendrecht Award.
In Singaporean filmmaker Wei Liang Chiang‘s feature debut “Mongrel” (Singapore/Taiwan/France, Deuxième Ligne Films), an illegal Thai migrant gets caught up in a human trafficking operation, supposedly a care-giving scheme, in rural Taiwan. The project has been developed at Cinéfondation Résidence, Talents Tokyo, and TorinoFilmLab, with development funds also from the HBF.
A reformed gang of hard-boiled thieves are the stars of “La escuela pesada” (Argentina/Austria/Chile, Nabis Filmgroup GmbH) from Argentinian filmmaker Hernán Rosselli, whose “Mauro” screened at IFFR 2015. Mohamed Rashad explores labor abuses in Egypt in “The Settlement” (Egypt/France/Germany, Caractères Productions) and the project was presented at CineMart in 2021 as part of the BoostNL program.
The Old Vic and Sonia Friedman Productions have released a first look for “Eureka Day,” starring Oscar-winning actor Helen Hunt (“As Good as It Gets”). The European premiere production of Jonathan Spector’s play is directed by Katy Rudd (“The Ocean at the End of the Lane”).
Set against the backdrop of a mumps outbreak at a progressive private elementary school in California in 2017, “Eureka Day” is a satire on the quest for consensus; the central question of ‘to vaccinate’ or ‘not to vaccinate’ taking on a whole new meaning in 2022.
The cast also includes Kirsten Foster (“Life of Pi”), Mark McKinney (“Superstore”), Ben Schnetzer (“Pride”) and Susan Kelechi Watson (“This Is Us”).
“Eureka Day” is now on until Oct. 31 at London’s The Old Vic.
Al Jazeera Documentary industry days @ AJB DOC, which took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, an event that supports the expansion of documentaries worldwide, including international co-productions, and matches key decision-makers with interesting projects, has revealed the winners for this year’s event.
MAIN PITCH $25,000 (The co-production award in this category is presented by Al Jazeera Documentary Channel) – “Cinema Under Siege,” Srđan Šarenac
MAIN PITCH €8,000 (The co-production Award presented by Al Jazeera Balkans) – “Last Letters From My Grandma,” Olga Lucovnicova
WORK IN PROGRESS $15,000 (The co-production award in this category is presented by Al Jazeera Documentary Channel) – “Friday at The Window,” Atieh Zare
WORK IN PROGRESS €7,000 (The co-production Award presented by Al Jazeera Balkans) – “Land of Sar,” Petra Seliškar
BALKAN STARS $10,000 (The co-production award in this category is presented by Al Jazeera Documentary Channel) – “Woman of God,” Maja Prettner, Iza Strehar, Boštjan Virc
BALKAN STARS €5,000 (The co-production Award presented by Al Jazeera Balkans) – “Hvar League,” Emina Kujundžić
BH TELECOM AWARD €2,500 – “Assassination Of Hakija Turajlić,” Mirza Pašić
CURRENT TIME TV €1,000 – “Abastumani,” Mariam Chachia, Nik Voigt
SUNNYSIDE OF THE DOC (Invitation and accreditation to Sunny Side of the Doc 2023) – “Women of my Life,” Zahraa Ghandour
CANNES DOC AWARD (Two complimentary Marché du Film badges & a special spotlight on the winning project at Cannes Docs 2023, a program of the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes) – “Do You Love Me?,” Lana Daher and “Let’s Play Soldiers,” Mariam Al-Dhubhani, Mohammed Al-Jaberi
BELDOCS (Invitation to pitch a project at Beldocs IDFF 2023) – Hvar League, Emina Kujundžić
MIA|DOC (Invitation to pitch a project at MiaDoc 2022) – “Cinema Under Siege,” Srđan Šarenac
EASTDOC PLATFORM (East Silver Caravan Award) – “Abastumani”
PROGRESS FILM AWARD (Video Archive worth €3,000) – “Cinema Under Siege,” Srđan Šarenac
RADIO AND TELEVISION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (Television Archive) – “Assassination Of Hakija Turajlić,” Mirza Pašić
AJD Industry Days ran from Sept. 10-12, during which 32 projects from Southeast Europe, Caucasus and MENA were presented.
(Courtesy of Yahoo Entertainment)