Five projects from Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have been selected by the World Cinema Fund (WCF) from a total of 81 submissions from 28 countries for funding of $313,387 (Euros 230,000).

The largest single amount of funding - $81,753 (Euros 60,000) - went to Colombian director Ciro Guerra's The Wind Journeys, to be produced by Bogota-based Ciudad Lunar Produciones with Germany's Razor Films, which previously worked on Paradise Now. Funding had already been granted for project development by Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund and Ibermedia.

Support was also given to Angolan director Zeze Gamboa's O Grande Kilapy (Le Coup du Siecle), which is being produced by Gamboa e Gamboa and has also been backed by Portugal's ICAM; Iranian filmmaker Sepideh Farsi's The House Under The Water, which will be produced by Teheran-based Neshaneh Films with Berlin's Pola Pandora Filmproductions; and to Buenos Aires-based Ruda Cine's production of Argentinian director Alejo H. Taube's Agua y Sal which received ARTE's Produire au Sud prize at the Buenos Aires co-production forum BAL last year and was also backed by the Hubert Bals Fund.

In addition, the WCF granted funding to Belfilms' production of the documentary Justice Must Be Seen by Israel's Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, which is one of the 13 projects being pitched in Locarno next month as part of the Open Doors Factory.

Meanwhile, Friday marked the launch in Jerusalem of a new initiative entitled World Cinema Fund Spotlights, in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, to present screenings of selected WCF-funded films and organise case studies.

Screenings and showcases under the World Cinema Fund Spotlights banner are also planned at the Sanfic Film Festival in Santiago de Chile in August and at the Jakarta International Film Festival in December.

As of this summer, the WCF will be open to projects by filmmakers from South East Asia and the Caucasus in addition to the existing focus regions of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia.