The Sørfond Pitching Forum showcases six projects
by Kaleem Aftab
- At the industry event held in Oslo, filmmakers and producers from Latin America, Africa and Asia presented their films to an audience of Norwegian producers
At the Sørfond Pitching Forum, held in Oslo as part of Films from the South, filmmakers and producers from Latin America, Africa and Asia pitched their films that will be vying for backing from the Norwegian fund in 2020. Of the six projects pitched, four already have European co-production partners in place. The purpose of the forum is to give filmmakers and producers from eligible countries the opportunity to present their projects to an audience of Norwegian producers, intending to enter a co-production agreement so that the movies can apply for the fund in March. Another condition that the films must meet is that 50% of the budget must be in place in order for them to qualify for the fund.
Projects from countries on Sørfond’s list of 85 countries are eligible to apply for production support from Sørfond. In addition, the primary producer must be established in a country on this list, and the director must have citizenship of, or be resident in, an eligible country. Moreover, the film must be shot in an eligible country. In exceptional cases, derogations may be made regarding the establishment of the leading producer in a country on Sørfond’s list of 85 countries if, for political reasons, the movie cannot be produced in such a country.
The six projects that were pitched are also pre-selected for the shortlist of 20-30 films for next year’s Sørfond. They are as follows:
Cu Li Never Cries, a Vietnamese-Filipino-French-German co-production directed by Vietnamese artist Pham Ngoc Lan. The film has been developed at SEAFIC x Produire au Sud, and has been presented at markets such as Cannes’ L’Atelier, Busan’s APM and Locarno’s Open Doors (where it won the Arte Kino Prize). It tells the story of a widow and explores the ties between Vietnam and East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
New Dawn Fades, a Turkish-Dutch-German co-production directed by Gürcan Keltek (Meteors [+see also:
interview: Gürcan Keltek
film profile], Gulyabani). Dealing with bipolar disorder, the film is a hybrid blend of documentary and psychological thriller.
Mami Wata, a black-and-white fantasy tale from Nigeria about the mermaid goddess, directed by CJ Obasi (Ojuju, O-Town and Hello, Rain).
Nezouh, the new film by Venice Lion of the Future Award winner Soudade Kaadan. The movie shows the Syrian conflict, as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl, and contains humorous elements. It is a Syrian-Lebanese-French collaboration, with French outfit Tanit Films serving as co-producer.
Skin of Youth, a Vietnamese-US co-production helmed by The Third Wife director Ash Mayfair. Set in Saigon in 1998, it tells the tale of San, who is trying to raise money to have a sex-change operation.
Daughter of Rage, a Mexican-Dutch-German co-production directed by Nicaragua’s Laura Baumeister. The film was presented at the Berlinale, Guadalajara FICG, BoostNL in Utrecht/CineMart (where it scooped the Wouter Barendrecht Award) and San Sebastián (where it won three accolades: Best Project in the Europe-Latin America Coproduction Forum, the EFADs-CAACI Grant and the Arte Kino Prize). It is about a mother-daughter relationship set in a waste dump.
The forum also featured a presentation on “Why We Co-produce” by Katrin Pors from Danish production company Snowglobe, a case study on the Sørfond-backed You Will Die at 20 [+see also:
interview: Amjad Abu Alala
film profile] by Amjad Abu Alala and a talk on “Festival and Press Strategy” by Cineuropa’s UK correspondent, Kaleem Aftab.
From its inception in 2011, Sørfond has been supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since the first round of grants in 2012 up to 2019, NOK 24.6 million have been granted for support from Sørfond. For the next three-year cycle, from 2020-2022, Sørfond will distribute NOK 9 million in grants. With the help of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sørfond has supported 57 films from developing countries since its first round of grants.
The Sørfond titles that have debuted this year include Gabriel Mascaro’s Divine Love [+see also:
film profile], which screened in the Panorama section of the Berlinale, along with Marwa Zein’s Khartoum Offside [+see also:
film profile], which screened in the Forum. You Will Die at 20 screened at Venice, where it also received the Award for Best Debut Feature. Finally, Rubaiyat Hossain’s Made in Bangladesh [+see also:
film profile] and Oualid Mouaness’ 1982 [+see also:
film profile] were both screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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