The Netherlands Film Fund and the Swedish Film Institute are among eight European public funders that are launching ‘New Dawn,’ an inclusion and equality production fund that aims to support under-represented groups in the world of film.

Apart from the Netherlands and Sweden, the other founder funding bodies are from Slovenia, Denmark, Finland, French and Flemish Belgium, and Luxembourg. More countries are expected to be announced this fall, when the fund will be launched on the market at a major international film festival.

The fund will support feature length documentaries with €100,000 ($118,700) and fiction features with €200,000. There will be two funding rounds a year where five to 10 projects will receive funding. Qualified applicants are film projects with a director, producer and/or screenwriter from one of the groups that the United Nations Human Rights Act specifies as a discriminated group.

“We are reaching out to projects that already have 50% of their funding in place,” said Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, at the fund launch event in Cannes on Monday. “We wanted to come from one country with a selecting body that has been included because with selection, there is higher ground for quality. We are making measures only to include storytellers, but their stories could be anything. The only thing that the selection committee will look at is the relevance, the originality, the vibrance of artistic level, exactly as we believe that we have been doing for years, though, we only found it within a number of people.”

The selection committee will consist of unbiased people with experience of discrimination and they will not be from the countries in the fund.

The fund will be administered by the Netherlands Film Fund, and applications will be open from spring 2022. Several film institutes around the world have shown an interest, and the founding eight funding bodies are now finalizing the criteria for the fund. Filmmakers who have previously found it hard to get funding from the national film institutes due to one of the grounds for discrimination will now be given new opportunities.

“Quite simply, all of us public funders have been supporting too small of a portion of the demographic we’re supposed to serve,” said Bero Beyer, CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund, at the event. “Too many filmmakers have been excluded, have had to fight to enter into those networks, face whatever kind of ceiling or regulatory barriers, or even worse, to attempt to get films off the ground. And the result is that large communities have not had access to funding, have not penetrated the networks and as a result, we’re under serving the audience that doesn’t see themselves on screen.”

Beyer lauded the 50:50 gender parity initiative that already exists in the eight national bodies that have launched the fund and hailed ARTEF, the European anti-racism task force initiated by Matthijs Wouter Knol, the director of the European Film Academy, who was also present at the launch.