BERLIN — Three film projects from Southeast Asia have become the latest productions to win backing from the Berlinale World Cinema Fund.
The WCF jury slated a total of E160,000 ($200,625) for the films, including some $75,000 to “Primitive: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” from Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Bangkok-based producer Kick The Machine Films.
Another $63,000 went to “Independencia,” from Filipino director Raya Martin and Manila-based Cinematografica Films.
Vietnamese production “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid,” from director Di Phan Dang and Vietnam Media Corp. in Hanoi, also received $63,000.
The allocations reflect the WCF’s new focus on Southeast Asia. When it launched in 2004, the WCF initially concentrated its efforts on filmmakers in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia. Last year it added Southeast Asia and the Caucasus to its regional focuses.
The WCF has so far granted production or distribution funding to 52 projects from a total of 928 submissions from 69 countries.
Most of the completed films have gone on to screen at international festivals. In 2008, six WCF productions celebrated their world premieres at fests around the world, including Turkish filmmaker Yesim Ustaoglu’s “Pandora’s Box,” which won best film and actress in San Sebastian and also screened in Toronto. Paz Encina’s Paraguayan drama “Paraguayan Hammock” also unspooled in San Sebastian and won the Luis Bunuel Award there.
In addition, Josue Mendez’s Peruvian drama “Dioses” screened in competition in Locarno; Indonesian filmmaker Ravi Bharwani’s “Jermal” and Marat Sarulu’s Kazakh drama “Songs from the Southern Seas” both unspooled in Pusan; and Semih Kaplanoglu’s Turkish title “Milk” competed in Venice.
Three WCF-funded films have also been selected for the Global Lens 2009 program, “Songs from the Southern Seas,” Sandra Gugliotta’s Argentine drama “Possible Lives” and Morocco’s “What a Wonderful World,” by Faouzi Bensaidi.
Put together by the Global Film Initiative, the series of 10 films is part of the international non-profit organization’s mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema.
The WCF is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlinale in cooperation with the Goethe Institute.