Rotterdam's HBF Plus Awards Paraguayan, Chilean Projects

HONG KONG – International Film Festival Rotterdam will award 50,000 euros to the Dutch producers of Paraguayan director Pablo Amar’s La ultima terra and Chilean filmmaker Niles Atallah’s Rey as part of its initiative to encourage co-productions in the Netherlands.

Fortuna Films, joint producers of La ultima terra with Sapukai Cine from Paraguay and also co-producers alongside France’s Mandra Films and Brazil’s Bananeira Filmes, is one of two recipients of this year’s Hubert Bals Fund Plus Awards as announced by the IFFR in a statement on Thursday.

The other winner is Circe Films, who are co-producers of Rey alongside Mômerade (France) and Unafilm (Germany). The film is produced by Diluvio from Chile.

According to the IFFR release, La ultima terra is set on a tranquil mountain, where an old man bids goodbye to his wife. Meanwhile, Rey will be “an audiovisual experience that depicts the romantic visions of a French adventurer who founded his own kingdom in Chile in the 19th century.”

Amar has twice been selected for the Festival de Cannes short film competition with I Hear Your Scream (2008) and Night Inside (2009). Meanwhile, Atallah’s first film, Lucia, competed for the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2010.

More awardees will be named after the second round of selection in October, according to the festival statement. The Hubert Bals Fund Plus program is a scheme aiming to provide Dutch producers with financial support for international co-productions with a budget of not more than 800,000 euros.

Productions which have received the grant in the past include Annemarie Jacir’s Salt of this Sea and Ciro Guerra’s The Wind Journeys, both of which later competed in the Un Certain Regard sidebar at Cannes in 2008 and 2009 respectively; Aktan Aryn Kubat’s The Light Thief, a Director’s Fortnight entry in 2010; and Domingo Sotomayor’s From Thursday to Sunday, which won the IFFR’s top-prize in 2012.