Rotterdam Fetes Hubert Bals Fund’s 25th Anniversary With Anup Singh’s ‘Qissa’

The Hubert Bals Fund has supported over a thousand world cinema titles since its creation

Rotterdam film fest (IFFR) will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Hubert Bals Fund with the unspooling of Anup Singh’s “Qissa” on opening night (Jan. 22).

The Toronto-preeming”Qissa” is one of the thousand world cinema titles backed by the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) since its creation.

Set during the separation of India in 1947, the drama toplines vet thesp Irrfan Khan (“Life of Pi”) and up-and-comer Tillotama Shome. It won the NETPAC nod at Toronto.

Singh has been at Rotterdam before — he presented there his directorial debut, “Name Of A River” in 2002.

“Although the film is set in 1947, during a turbulent period in Indian history, the kernel of the story is extremely recognizable and contemporary. The father’s passionate desire for a male heir causes deep suffering within the community,” said Rotterdam’s artistic director Mart Dominicus, describing “Qissa” as “a poignant, universal story of ordinary people, more tragic than moralising.”

Dominicus pointed out the pic was supported by the HBF from script stage. “This is a great example of the power of the Fund to help filmmakers from countries where making an independent feature film is by no means a matter of course. Financial support at crucial times in the production process can act as a catalyst for international recognition.”

Co-produced by Augustus Film, “Qissa” also received fundings from the Netherlands Film Fund.

As part of the HBF’s celebration, Rotterdam will play a special-themed selection titled Mysterious Objects, in reference to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Mysterious Object At Noon;” and will make available five classic films supported by the HBF on the fest’s YouTube channel and website.

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