Org launching new training initiative in Africa

Feature projects from Syria, Guatemala, Malaysia and Brazil are among the latest pics to win backing from the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund.

The WCF has also announced an initiative to promote local cinema in a number of African countries.

Syrian helmer Meyar Al Roumi’s “Round Trip,” from Cologne-based Maranto Film, picked up €30,000 ($42,852), as did Julio Hernandez Cordon’s “Polvo” (Dust), from Guatemala’s Melindrosa Films, and Brazilian duo Clarissa Campolina and Helvecio Marins Jr.’s “Girimunho” (Swirl), from Brazil’s Teia Filmes and Germany’s Autentika Films.

Seng Tat Liew’s Malaysian production, “In What City Does it Live?” from Malaysia’s Everything Films, nabbed $71,438.

The WCF sifted through 135 submissions from 41 countries during their latest funding session.

In addition to the approximately $200,000 in production funds, the org also granted more than $32,000 in distribution coin to four international features. Among them is this year’s Berlinale winner “Nader and Simin, A Separation,” from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.Others are “Un homme qui crie,” by Chadian director Haroun Mahamat-Saleh; Kyrgyz helmer Aktan Arym Kubat’s “The Light Thief” and “Huacho,” from Chile’s Alejandro Fernandez Almendras.

Through the support of new partners, including the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and international pubcaster Deutsche Welle’s DW Akademie, the WCF will launch a new program in a number of African countries this year. The first WCF Factory will be held in Burundi this August.

Working with local partner CoProDac, the WCF has selected the feature film “Plainte contre le Burundi,” by Rolland Rugero, and will provide audio engineering training during the shoot.

This fall a second WCF Factory will be held in Burkina Faso. Imagine Film Institute in Ouagadougou will partner with the WCF on Appoline Traore’s “Moi, Zaphira.”

Since its establishment in 2004, the WCF has backed a total of 88 projects from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central and South East Asia, and the Caucasus. All of the WCF films completed so far have screened in cinemas and/or at renowned international film festivals.

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