Jan Vrijman Fund co-ordinator Isabel Arrante Fernandez has unveiled a raft of new projects including In The Darkness, the latest project by Sergei Devortsevoi (Highway, IDFA 1999), co-produced by Jane Balfour.
Aiming for completion in spring 2004, the film has also received script development funding from the Hubert Bals Fund and it is backed by French channel Arte, YLE Finland and the Finnish Film Foundation.
Other films backed by the $358,000 (Eu300,000) Jan Vrijman fund, aimed at film-makers in developing countries, include Mercedes Moncada's latest Tale Of Two Brothers, which follows two siblings trying for reconciliation years after fighting on opposite sides in Nicaragua's Contra war. The film has also been backed by the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund. Moncada's The Passion Of Maria Elena is competing in the IDFA's Joris Ivens Competition this year.
The Wall, by Simone Bitton, a film examining the erection of a wall between Palestinians and Israelis in Israel, co-produced by Cine-Sud and Rashid Masharawi's Ramalah Cinema Production Centre, has also received funding.
A new documentary, Soy Cuba The Documentary, is also in the pipeline, dealing with the history of the forgotten spectacular Soviet-era 'film poem' I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba), a Russian-Cuban co-production that was made by Mikhail Kalatozov in 1964. The film was shelved by communists at the time as it did not fit the strictures of official Soviet film policy. The film was rediscovered and presented in the 1990s by Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Copola, and features incredible feats of iconic cinematography, the story of which is unraveled in the new film.
Story Of A Beautiful Country, a feature-length documentary exploring the state of the South African nation by Khalo Matabane, was presented at last year's Forum and is expected to be realised in 2004, plus a new project by Bulgarian Adele Peeva, who was recently elected to the executive of the European Documentary Network, entitled Divorce Albanian Style (with reference to Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini's 1998 and 2001 IDFA film Divorce Iranian Style), is also in the pipeline with Jan Vrijman support.
Projects supported by the Fund come to fruition throughout the year. The money is allocated in two rounds, with deadlines for the submission of applications on Feb 1 and June 1. There are no strict criteria for allocation, according to Fernandez, who said "it depends on the submissions we receive".
Some 180 applications are received each year, and on average about 15-16 of these will receive funding in each round, depending on the promise and quality of the projects submitted.
The Fund is also sponsoring the first ever international documentary film festival to be held in Uganda. The festival, called Amakula, is scheduled to take place in Kampala from May 21-30, 2004, and is being organised by the Ugandan Film and Television Institute