Berlin fund backs 'Zemestan,' 'Dol' releases


MUNICH -- The Berlin International Film Festival's World Cinema Fund, which provides production and distribution funding to films made in Latin America, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, will back the German theatrical release of "Zemestan" (It's Winter) from Iranian-born filmmaker Rafi Pitts and Kurdish director Hiner Saleem's "Dol," the fund's management team said Tuesday.

Saleem's "Dol," about a wedding celebration in the Turkish-military controlled Kurdish village of Balliova that ends in conflict, will be released by Berlin-based distributor MITOSFILM in April.

"Zemestan," Pitts' study of living and working conditions on the outskirts of Teheran, which ran in competition at the 2006 Berlinale, will be released by Berlin's FSK in March.

"These outstanding films give an authentic picture of the cultures in their countries of origin and should not be withheld from German or other European audiences," said Hortensia Voelckers, artistic director of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, one of the World Cinema Fund's backers.

"Dol" received €8,000 ($10,400) in distribution funding and "Zemestan" received €3,600 ($4,680) from the World Cinema Fund.