18 April, 2009

World Cinema Fund in love with Latin America; Spotlight exhibition happens this year in Bogotá

Germany seems to be today one of the European countries that is not only interested in what comes from abroad in terms of culture, but also one of those that actually support different cultural views than their own. A concrete example of that is the Berlin Film Festival, which reveals more each year its political and social interests in a kind of alternative cinema that is produced by young filmmakers in parts of the world where cultural development depends a lot on external stimulus. Latin America for instance. And specially.

The World Cinema Fund (WCF) was launched by the Berlinale in 2004, initiated by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and in co-operation with the Goethe Institut, to support filmmakers in developing countries and regions which lack a constructive film industry. It is, nowadays, one of the most disputed funds among film producers in Latin America, Africa, Midelle East, Central and Southeast Asia and the Caucasus – places that certainly have a lot to tell about reality through their feature films and documentaries. The WCF is there to make it possible, having 500.000 Euros at is disposal each year. Not much, but a very important money.

The fund helps the production process of a project (not pre o post production) and also the distribution of “challenging innovative” films, narrative and aesthetically speaking, in Germany. Around 60 films (mostly feature films, although documentaries are equally welcome) have received the support from the WCF. Many of them are Latin, because, according to Vincenzo Bugno, one of the managers of the fund, “there is a great creative energy in Latin America. The region has been important for the WCF from its begging. We are very interested in young filmmakers with different languages and local issues that can be treated in an universal way. You can find all that here”, said Vincenzo in a press conference about the WCF in Bogotá this Friday (17th April).

He came to Colombia to present eight of the films the WCF has helped to produce in Latin America with the so called World Cinema Fund Spotlight – a short film exhibition that happens annually in three different cities around the world. In 2009, Bogotá has been chosen aside with Manila and Beirut. “I´m in love with Colombia since I visited the country for the first time last year during the Cartagena Film Festival. Besides, we have recently helped the production of two Colombian films, which means a lot for us and for Colombia”. The Colombian projects that have been supported by the WCF are Ciro Guerra’s “Los viajes del viento” and Rubén Mendonza’s “La sociedad del semáforo”. The first will be launched in the country on the 30th of April and the other is still in its shooting period.

The 8 titles brought by the WCF and the Goethe Institut are one of the most acclaimed inside the recent Latin American film production and hadn’t been launched in Colombia, as in many Latin American countries. Actually, Vincenzo knows distribution is today a major issue for the region, once the films that are produced here, with or without the help of such an international fund, just don’t circulate among neighbors. “Distribution is the next step for us. We realize the importance of promoting it, as it’s the central problem of the cinema everywhere today. Here it is a huge problem”.

For now, while distribution problems are being thought about, he invites all Latin Americans to submit their projects to the fund two times a year (via the Berlinale’s website) and suggests that Colombians should advantage of the Spotlight exhibition. “It’s an important step to bring those films here”, he says. It actually is.

To see the Spotlight 2009 program in Bogotá, click here.

Foto: “Los viajes del viento”, Colombian movie by Cirro Guerra, produced with German support.

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