Four film projects comingfrom three southeastern European countries received the grants handed out todayby the Balkan Fund, a script development initiative created in November 2002 bythe Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF).

Two of the four awardedprojects come from Romania, where cinema has become more vital in recent years.The two projects, receiving $12,824 (Euros 10,000) each, are: Principles of Life to be written by The Death Of Mr Lazarescu writer RazvanRadulescu, directed by Radu Jude, and produced by Ada Solomon; and A Heart Shaped Balloon to be written by BogdanMustata and Catalin Mitulescu, directed by Catalin Mitulescu and produced by DanielMitulescu.

The other two projects beingfunded are Here and There, writtenand directed by Darko Lungulov and produced by Goran Radakovic (Serbia); and Cairo written by Vassilis Raissis and StergiosNiziris, directed by Niziris and produced by Panos Papahatzis, StellaTheodoraki (Greece).

The Balkan Fund gave aspecila mnetion to Circus Fantasticus,from writer/director Janez Burger and producer Rutar Jozko (Slovenia).

The winners were announcedduring the ongoing TIFF (Nov 17-26) by a five-member international jury composedby Peter Carlton, Cedomir Kolar, Lenny Crooks, Roman Paul, and Christina Kallas.

Funds for three of the fourawards were provided by the Greek Ministry of Culture. The fourth was offeredby the French CNC.

The Fund's awards, used as seed money for scriptdevelopment, are only given to features coming from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Fyrom, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.

The four winning projectswere selected after a three-day, open pitching session by thedirectors/screenwriters of12 shortlisted projects.

The international profile ofthe Balkan Fund received a substantial boost earlier this year when JasmilaZbanic's Grbavica, the Bosnia & Herzegovina production, won the Berlin Film Festival GoldenBear. The Grbavica project was launchedin Thessaloniki where the project won a Balkan Fund scriptdevelopment grant in 2003. The film received a gala screening here during theBalkan Fund awards ceremony and Zbanic conducted a study case on her film.

Deadline for the next BalkanFund awards during the 48th TIFF (Nov 16-25 2007) is April 2007.

The Balkan Fund forms part of the Coordination scheme of the European Film Funds, alongside the DutchHubert Bals Fund, the Fondazione Monte Cinema Verita, the Goteborg Film FestivalFilm Fund and the Berlinale Film Fund.