Argentine director Lucia Puenzo, whose XXY won the Critics’ Week prize in Cannes, is among the 250 filmmakers who have submitted projects to a new Norwegian film fund, the South Fund, which will support film production in developing countries.

Zimbabwean director Tsitsi Dambarembga, who is also one of Africa’s most-selling authors, Uruguayan director Alvaro Brechner, whose Bad Day to Go Fishing (Mal día para pescar) caught 20 local and international awards are also amongst the directors to have applied to the fund.

”The response to the launch of the fund has been overwhelming,” said head of production Ivar Køhn, of the Norwegian Film Institute, which administers the project – ”we have had applications from Argentina in the West to Ulan Bator in the East.” Subjects range from films about Zimbabwean folklore to an Argentine drama about the Nazi ‘Angel of Death,’ Josef Mengele.

Instigated by Norwegian Minister of Environment Erik Solheim and International Development and Films from South (Film fra Sør) – a  festival for Asian, African, Middle-East and Latin-American cinema unspooling its 21st edition in Oslo between Oct 6-16 – the fund will next year back the production of documentaries and features in these countries by $0.7 million (NOK 4 million).

The South Fund committee has selected 13 projects – including Puenzo, Dambarembga and Brechner’s – to be pitched to potential Norwegian partners at a co-production forum during Oct 13-14.

“Films from the South is a meeting point for our guests filmmakers and the local film industry – the new fund should further strengthen the contact,” said festival director Lasse Skagen.

To qualify for fund backing the incoming producers must attach a Norwegian partner, which Køhn describes as “a great opportunity for our producers to meet new traditions of filmmaking, strong story-tellers and international competence.”

The South Fund will receive a cash injection of $1.7 million (NOK 10 million) from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry over the next five years.