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CANNES 2021 Marché du Film

The Göteborg Film Fund announces its first post-production selection

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- CANNES 2021: The new films by Júlia Murat and Hussein Hassan, along with first-timer Philip Sotnychenko, are the first to receive support from the fund

The Göteborg Film Fund announces its first post-production selection
(l-r) Jonas Holmberg, Camilla Larsson, Hajooj Kuka and Isabel Arrate Fernandez during the session

The Göteborg Film Fund is an initiative that aims to strengthen the film industry and contribute to bringing about a diversified culture and media landscape, with increased artistic freedom and free speech. The new fund is supported by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was launched in May. It intends to support stories and filmmakers from Brazil, Sudan and Ukraine, plus Kurdish filmmakers in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. This is a one-year project with the goal being to establish a permanent international film fund, and its total budget stands at SEK 4 million (€400,000).

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During the Cannes Marché du Film, the “Democratic Perspectives on Global Film Funding” conference offered a wider overview of the role of the Göteborg Film Fund. It was moderated by the Göteborg Film Festival’s artistic director, Jonas Holmberg, who was joined by Camilla Larsson, manager of the Göteborg Film Fund, and they also took the opportunity to present the first stats from the applications they have received so far. The fund supports the development, post-production and innovative distribution of feature films (including fiction, documentary and animation) and series of a high artistic level and democratic value. During the call, more than 1,000 projects were submitted: from Brazil, 145 in post-production and 600 in development; from Sudan, two in post-production and 75 in development; from Ukraine, 20 in post-production and 70 in development; and from Kurdish filmmakers, 25 in post-production and 65 in development.

During the discussion, Sudanese filmmaker and activist Hajooj Kuka, who was thrust into the spotlight after screening his Toronto-premiered aKasha (The Roundup) [+see also:
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, went into detail about how important international recognition of his film was in terms of igniting the spark for more people to take an interest in cinema, and he remarked that having 75 projects in development from Sudan was wonderful. He also mentioned the struggles and the limitations facing artistic freedom in his country, with him having already been arrested and imprisoned last year for participating in a theatre workshop. Also, Isabel Arrate Fernandez, managing director of the IDFA Bertha Fund, offered her perspective on the importance of their organisation in supporting local filmmakers and what the role of funding bodies is in financing projects that can be orientated towards an international audience but also fostering a local community of filmmakers that produce works for their respective viewers.

One day later, Larsson and Holmberg announced the first selection of projects in post-production – three films, respectively from Brazil, Ukraine and the Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq. Larsson mentioned: “We are so proud of, and excited about, these first three selected projects; each one of them is very specific to its region and in its expression, but they are also very universal in their stories. We start off with fiction, but the next selection of post-production projects will definitely contain artistic documentaries as well.”

The first of the selected films, which are each receiving SEK 350,000 (€35,000), is Rule 34, the third feature by Brazilian filmmaker Júlia Murat (Found Memories [+see also:
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), a movie that follows a young, black attorney who has spent years offering live, online sex performances to pay for law school and “endeavours to construct dialogues between different identities, without this leading to the annulment of identarian policies”. It is being produced by Esquina Producões in co-production with Bubbels Projects and Still Moving.

The Rain Bride by well-known Kurdish writer-director-actor Hussein Hassan (Reseba: The Dark Wind [+see also:
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) is set during the 2014 war in the Kurdish city of Duhok in Northern Iraq, and was developed in parallel with real events within a family whom the producer and co-writer of the film, Mehmet Aktaş (Mîtosfilm), knew.

Finally, La Palisiada by debuting Ukrainian filmmaker Philip Sotnychenko is a fictional presentation of “declassified” archives from the Ukrainian police, telling the story of the last death sentence in Ukraine in the mid-1990s. It is being produced by Sashko Chubko, Valeria Sochyvets and Halyna Kryvorchuk for Viatel and Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema.

The third support scheme, concerning innovative distribution support, is now open for submissions, until 10 August. The announcement of the selection for development support will take place in September, as will the unveiling of the second batch of post-production support projects.

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