Berlinale world fund boosts political pix

'Paradise Now,' 'Barca' among selected few

BERLIN — “Paradise Now,” Palestinian helmer Hany Abu-Assad’s Berlinale contender about the last 28 hours in the lives of two Palestinian suicide bombers, and “Barca,” Algerian Teguia Tariq’s tale of a couple looking to escape Islamic fundamentalists for a better life in Europe, are among the nine pics selected for financing by the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund.

The fund won additional support from Germany’s Goethe Institut, which put up an extra E233,000 ($300,000) for the initiative, bringing its three-year budget to E1.73 million ($2.22 million).

The Berlinale and the German Federal Cultural Foundation established the fund last year to help support filmmakers from countries whose film industry is less developed or whose existence is endangered by political or economic crises. The initiative finances production and distribution of films from Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and seeks to bring filmmakers from these regions together with German film producers in order to raise awareness of their projects in Germany and in the global market.

WCF manager Sonja Moerkens unveiled the fund’s first projects during the Berlinale Friday. Of the seven films receiving production funding, three, including “Barca,” are being presented in the World Cinema section of the Berlinale Co-Production Market this year. The others are “Waiting for an Angel,” from Nigerian director Newton Aduaka, and Argentinian pic “El Otro” from Ariel Rotter.

With some $77,000 each, “Angel” and “El Otro” received the most funding of the nine projects.

Also chosen were Kyrgyzstan director Ernest Abdyshaparov’s Panorama screener documentary “Saratan”; “Naousse” from Lebanese helmers Khalid Joreige and J. Hadjithomas; and Brazil’s “Raffle Me,” Karim Ainouz’s tale of an 18-year-old girl’s plan to raffle herself off in order to escape life in a small town.

“El Abrazo Partido,” last year’s Berlinale competition screener from Argentinian director Daniel Burman, and “Dias de Santiago,” by Peruvian director Josue Mendez, are receiving $19,300 each in funding for German distribution.

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