A filmmaker from Argentina, who Martin Scorsese mentored during the making of Shutter Island two years ago, is one of five filmmakers to attract production funding from Germany's World Cinema Fund (WCF).
Celina Murga (pictured) spent time with Scorsese under the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and plans to film Third Bank of the River next year. The drama about a 16-year-old trying to decide whether to abide by his father's wishes or choose freedom will be her third film after Ana and A Week Alone (Una Semana Solos).
Four dramatic features and one documentary received backing in the latest WCF round, it was announced late last week. This support is for directors who are from regions of the world that have little filmmaking infrastructure and who want to tell a culturally authentic story unconventionally.
The films are:
• The Boda Boda Thieves, director Donald Mugisha (Uganda)
• Carne de Perro, Fernando Guzzoni (Chile)
• El Bella Vista (documentary), Alicia Cano (Uruguay)
• Third Bank of the River, Celina Murga (Argentina)
• Workers, José Luis Valle (Mexico)
The films were chosen from 113 submissions from 38 countries and have attracted a total of $300,000 (€210,000) – the fund has an annual budget of about double that figure – with the largest share going to the African film.
The decisions were made by film scholar and curator Viola Shafik (Germany/Egypt), documentary producer Marta Andreu (Spain), distributor and producer Jan De Clercq (Belgium) and WCF project managers Sonja Heinen and Vincenzo Bugno.
Films with WCF support that have made an impact internationally in the past two years include: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives, from Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which won the Palme d'Or last year at Cannes; Ajami, directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, which won many awards, including best film, at the Israeli Film Academy Awards in 2009, and was nominated for a foreign language Oscar; and El Premio, a debut film from Mexico's Paula Markovitch, which won Silver Bears at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) this year for cinematography and production design.
The WCF is an initiative of the Berlinale and the Federal Foundation for Culture. The Goethe Institute, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Deutsche Welle/DW Academy and the Foreign Ministry also provide assistance.
Since its creation in 2004, the WCF has awarded funding to 93 of the 1,651 submissions received. In some cases, the money has just been for distribution in Germany, the aim being to encourage cultural diversity in German cinemas.
WCF support is focused on cinema from Latin and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia and the Caucasus. A director from one of these countries must be attached for a project to be eligible. The production company making the application can come from Germany or from one of these countries, providing a German producer is attached once assistance is offered. Other investors are always on board WCF films.