World Cinema Fund boosts projects

$68,000 goes to Chile's 'By the Fire'

Feature projects from Chile are the latest to win backing from the Berlinale World Cinema Fund.

The WCF jury slated €150,000 ($203,023) for the films, including some $68,000 for “By the Fire,” from Chilean helmer Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, producer El Remanso Cine and German partner Pandora Film Prods.

Another $54,000 went to Esteban Larrain’s “The Passion of Michelangelo,” from Chile’s Piranha Films and Germany’s Oliver Roepke Filmproduktion.

Also receiving support ($40,600) was “Araf” (Somewhere in Between), from Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu, Ustaoglu Film Production and the Cologne-based Match Factory. Pic follows two adolescents dealing with love and anguish as they find themselves trapped in a world of illusory expectations and social inequalities.

Moroccan helmer Leila Kilani’s “Sur la planche,” from Socco Chicco Films, likewise picked up $40,600.

Since its launch in 2004, the WCF has awarded production and distribution funding to 80 projects chosen from 1,411 submissions from regions with under developed film industries in Latin America, Central and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Caucasus.

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All the WCF films completed so far have screened in cinemas and/or at film festivals, including this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which received $75,000 in production funding in 2008.In addition, the WCF put up some $36,600 in distribution funding for three international releases, including “Uncle Boonmee”; “October,” from Peruvian directors Daniel and Diego Vega; and “Kick Off,” from Iraqi director Shawkat Amin Korki.

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