The Hubert Bals and Jan Vrijman funds join forces to support independent film-makers in developing economies.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) and the Jan Vrijman Fund (JVF), part of the International Documentary Film Festival, are to collaborate on a series of new initiatives to support film in developing countries.

The funds will continue to focus on their main activity of supporting independent film-makers in emerging countries; but will also increase their support for local distribution of independent films and training for film-makers.

They are also planning a tour of film festivals in Africa with ten features and documentaries, which have been developed with support of the funds. These will include:

  • Le Jardin Du Papa, Congo, Zeka Leplain
  • Un Matin Bonne Heure (Guinea) Gahite Fofana
  • Sea Point Days (South Africa), Francois Verster
  • Shungu: The Resilience Of A People, (Zimbabwe), Saki Mafundikwa

Iwana Chronis (pictured), manager of the HBF, and JVF manager Isabel Arrate Fernandez, said: “In many development countries, film festivals are one of the very few options to see independent cinema. Because of the lack of financial means or practical objections, smaller festivals have problems showing local or even international fiction and documentary feature films. In order to support these festivals and enhance the visibility of independent filmmaking locally, the Hubert Bals Fund and the Jan Vrijman Fund have joined forces to organise, later this year, an African festival tour.”

The Dutch Minister Of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that it plans to extend its support to both funds until 2012; and they will also make a joint approach to financiers. The HBF will receive $1m (€750,000), which will be lowered to $825,605 (€600,000) in two years, and the VJF will receive $598,563 (€435,000), which will be reduced to $481,626 (€350,000) also by 2012.

In addition, both funds receive support from the Hivos-NCDO Culture Fund and DOEN Foundation and the HBF also receives contributions from the Dioraphte Foundation and the Dutch public network, NPS TV.