Global fund effort

German pic project looks abroad for guidance

BERLIN — The Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund has recruited Zimbabwe-born film curator Keith Shiri, Alexander Horwath, director of Austria’s Film Museum, and French independent distrib Isabelle Dubar to selectprojects to be financed by the new org. The four-member panel also will include Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick.

The fund specifically targets projects from countries whose film industries are endangered by political and economic crises. Established earlier this year, the org was set up by the Berlinale and backed by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, which is providing E1.5 million ($1.9 million) for the first three years.

Through 2007, the fund will focus on promoting the production and distribution of films from Latin America, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

The jury will begin meeting this month to select projects to be supported in its term, which closes at the end of 2005. The panel will announce the first projects in January.

“The World Cinema Fund initiative has opened up possibilities which I sincerely hope will bring about new connections between German and world cinema,” said Shiri, organizer of the Southern African Film Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe, and London’s Africa at the Pictures fest. “It is an important step forward, coming at a crucial moment, when the tectonic plates which hold our world together appear to be desperately precarious.”

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