For many years, the Berlin International Film Festival, also called Berlinale, has extended its presence beyond the festival season with specially curated programmes. They are known as Berlinale Spotlight. The World Cinema Fund (WCF) – the Berlin Film Festival’s funding initiative – will participate in Berlin’s Around the World in 14 Films Festival scheduled on 25 November.
“I am delighted about collaborating with Around the World in 14 Films, which, like us, is dedicated to world cinema. The WCF is committed to cultural diversity and endeavours through funding to promote a multiplicity of aesthetics in film and their visibility. The WCF’s participation in Around the World in 14 Films will be a wonderful opportunity to show Berlin’s audience the recent WCF films and introduce the cinematic works from several WCF regions,” Vincenzo Bugno, project manager of the World Cinema Fund, said.
Since its launch in October 2004 as an initiative affiliated to the Berlinale and the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the WCF has been committed to developing and funding cinema in regions lacking adequate cinema infrastructure, as well as boosting cultural diversity in German and European cinemas. Such support aims at promoting the development of local film industries and collaboration between German and other European producers with partners in the WCF regions and countries. The WCF is a manifestation of an innovative European funding policy. Active throughout the year, the WCF has so far supported almost 200 film projects.
“To look at the world from different perspectives and free ourselves of the Eurocentric gaze is becoming more and more important in view of the increasing complexity of reality. This has been the credo of the Berlinale from day one and is also expressed by the work of the WCF. I wish the audience an exciting cinematic journey around the world,” Berlinale’s Director Dieter Kosslick said.
The Berlinale Spotlight programme will include screening five WCF feature fiction and documentary films on 25 November at Around the World in 14 Films. They include four productions that had their world premieres at internationally renowned festivals in 2018. The WCF project manager Vincenzo Bugno will be on hand to present the films.
“Our main focus is to act as a burning glass and annually highlight current filmmaking from around the globe, including cinematographies far removed [away] from Europe and North America. Since the inception of the Berlinale’s WCF, we have seen this idea highly reflected in its work. We are proud and pleased to be part of this exciting cooperation,” Bernhard Karl, director of Around the World in 14 Films, said.
Berlinale Spotlight: WCF programme
Kenya / South Africa / France / Netherlands / Germany 2018
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu, Rafiki was a WCF-Africa funding project in 2016 and participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market in 2014.
Kena and Ziki are two teenagers from Nairobi, Kenya. They become friends even though their families are political rivals. All the same, the girls stick together and try to pursue their dreams. In the conservative society where they live, the situation gets dangerous when they fall in love.
Argentina / Belgium / Brazil / Germany / France / Switzerland 2018
Directed by Benjamín Naishtat, Rojo was a WCF funding project in 2016 and participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market in 2014.
In Argentina during the mid-1970s, an unprecedented wave of political violence is spreading throughout the country. An ordinary man gets into extraordinary circumstances and finds himself having to cover up a terrible crime.
The Roundup (aKasha)
Sudan / South Africa / Qatar / Germany 2018
Directed by Hajooj Kuka, The Roundup was a WCF-Africa funding project in 2017 and its director participated in Berlinale Talents in 2016.
A universal love story but set in a time of war in present day Sudan. We follow Adnan, a machine gun-loving rebel, his love interest, Lina, and the army-dodging Absi, over a fateful 24 hours.
Still Recording (Lissa Ammetsajjel) – documentary
Syria / Lebanon / Qatar / France / Germany 2018
Directed by Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, Still Recording was a WCF funding project in 2018.
Saeed is a young cinephile teaching filmmaking to young people in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. When his friend Milad joins him in rebel-controlled Douma, they set up a radio station and a recording studio. They record everything on camera until eventually it is them that the camera is filming.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Great Britain / Thailand / France / Germany / Spain 2010
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was a WCF funding project in 2010.
Uncle Boonmee is terminally ill and goes to spend his last days with his family in the country. Before long, the spirits of his deceased wife and his lost son join him. Together they set off to seek where he was born in his first life.