International Film Festival Rotterdam: Film Projects Announced for the Hubert Bals Fund

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)’s Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) has selected eleven film projects from eleven different countries, each of which will receive contributions from the Fund towards script and project development. In its spring 2014 selection round 270 applications were received, and the Fund will grant contributions totalling €110,000.

Five of the selected projects are debut films, including Dégradé by young and talented twins Arab Abu Nasser and Tarzan Abu Nasser. The Palestinian filmmakers are working on a contemporary, urgent kammerspiel; a microcosmic drama showing conflict and tension in everyday life. A hair salon in the Gaza Strip offers a safe haven to a dozen women from all social strata when a gunfight between police and rebels breaks out across the street.

The Unwelcomed Whirling Wind In Our Stomach by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Shirvani is also to receive support from the HBF. The film tells the story – with a great deal of music and oppressive absurdism – of a music producer and a singer, whose life is suddenly turned upside down by unexpected guests. Shirvani won a Hivos Tiger Award for his film Fat Shaker in 2013, as well as presenting the installation Elephant in Darkness as part of Signals: Inside Iran at IFFR. This project will be his third feature film.

Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni will receive a contribution for her bittersweet feature debut I Am Not a Witch, a film about a banished nine-year-old witch who, having spent a year in a camp for the rehabilitation of witches, faces an impossible dilemma. Either she must give up her magical powers and lead a normal life in freedom, or remain a witch and be banished into eternal loneliness. Nyoni’s short film Mwansa the Great was screened at IFFR in 2012.

In addition, Another Trip to the Moon (Ismail Basbeth, Indonesia); The Calm (Song Fang, China); La omisión (Sebastián Schjaer, Argentina); Something Useful (Pelin Esmer, Turkey); The Boyfriend (Ashim Ahluwalia, India); The Winds Know That I’m Coming Back Home (José Luis Torres Leiva, Chile); The Wound (John Trengove, South Africa) and Tiempo compartido (Sebastián Hofmann, Mexico) will receive contributions for their script and project developments.

For more information visit

1. Dick Tuinder, Afscheid Van de Maan (2014). Hivos Tiger Awards Competition IFFR.

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