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Rotterdam fest debuts funded pix

Four competing pix coined by Hubert Bals Fund

The Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam’s long tradition of supporting emerging talent shows no sign of letting up at the 35th edition, running in the Netherlands’ port city until Sunday.

IFFR has a tradition of helping promising filmmakers get their projects off the ground. But the grassroots support Rotterdam offers is mutually beneficial.

This year, once again, a raft of projects that got financial assistance from Rotterdam in years past returns to debut, some in competition.

This year, four of the 14 pics competing for the VPRO Tiger Awards received coin from Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund: Alexis Dos Santos’ “Glue”; Gahite Fofana’s “Early in the Morning”; Manuel Nieto Zas’ “The Dog Pound”; and Han Jie’s “Walking on the Wild Side.”

The Bals Fund was established in 1988 to help filmmakers from the developing world get their features made and has sent more than 600 projects to the bigscreen.

Outside the Tigers, there are 21 Bals-backed titles here, including Argentine helmer Carlos Reygadas’ “Battle in Heaven.”

With Sunday’s launch of Cinemart, the godfather of co-production forums, the Rotterdam fest is now in full swing.

“There are so many co-production forums these days, but Cinemart is a cut above in terms of organization,” said Helge Albers from Potsdam, Germany-based production company Flying Moon.

Albers has attended Cinemart for five years and says he “always seems to come away with one project. You don’t tend to leave Cinemart with a deal done and dusted, but you make invaluable contacts in a relaxed atmosphere.”

The synopsis generating most early buzz is Vimukthi Jayasundara’s “Fallen From the Sky,” about an architect living and working on a mountain.

Jayasundara’s debut pic, “The Forsaken Land,” won the Camera d’Or at Cannes and plays in the Time and Tide section of Rotterdam.

Surrealist Czech helmer and favorite Jan Svankmajer delighted festgoers with a rare public appearance, during which he gave his usual outlandish answers to questions put to him by ex-Rotterdam topper Simon Field. According to Svankmajer, “Society doesn’t need art,”; “There’s too much music in the world”; and “Black humor is the only humor.”

The director is in town to tubthump “Lunacy,” which world preemed Sunday. Svankmajer’s fifth feature is, once again, a blend of animation and live action.

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