Berlin: Doha Film Institute Cash Goes to Berlinale's 'History of Fear'

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"History of Fear"

Argentine filmmaker Benjamin Naishtat's debut feature is among three from the 20 projects to benefit as the cash pool opens up to global applicants for the first time.

BERLIN -- The Doha Film Institute, the Qatari cultural organization, has announced the recipients for its debut global movie grants program during the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.

Among the 20 projects receiving support is Argentine filmmaker Benjamin Naishtat’s debut feature film History of Fear, which is set to make its world debut Feb. 9 as part of the Berlinale official competition lineup.

Aimed at identifying fresh cinematic talent worldwide, with a focus on first- and second-time filmmakers, the fund received 396 applications for its first international cycle. The fund was previously open only to the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region.

Twenty projects from 24 countries are set to receive funding for development, production and postproduction. The grantees encompass nine films from MENA, eight from the OCED’s development assistance committee list of countries (DAC) and three from the rest of the world.

DFI does not reveal funding size details as a “matter of policy” but individual grant amounts are between $2,500 and $100,000.

They include projects by emerging talents from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Uruguay alongside projects from MENA countries including Algeria, Iraq, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.

In total, the grants will support 12 narrative films, including two shorts (one fiction and one experimental), seven feature documentaries and one experimental documentary.

Applications were evaluated by an independent jury in December 2013 and were considered across three regional categories, with 88 from the rest of the world among those considered.

Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al Khater said: “The Doha Film Institute global grants were launched with a vision of fostering creative cultural exchange among MENA and international filmmakers. The strong response to the first submission cycle is a testament to the institute’s goal of supporting global storytelling and nurturing upcoming talent.”

Several filmmakers whose work has received DFI funding have a presence in the Berlinale this year, including Emir Baigazin, whose debut feature Harmony Lessons won a Silver Bear last year, and is on hand for the co-production market with The Wounded Angel.