Oscar award hopefuls, Mami Wata and Augure (Omen) will receive €3,000 and €8,000, respectively, for distribution in Germany.
By Helena Olori
The Berlinale World Cinema Fund (WCF), at its 39th jury session, has selected five outstanding African films as part of the 14 projects recommended for its production and distribution funding in 2023.
The WCF jury, headed by Vincenzo Bugno, meticulously reviewed 194 submitted projects from 62 countries, granting a total of €360,000 to support eleven projects in production and three in distribution.
Mami Wata and Augure, which are currently vying for the Oscars for Best International Feature Film at the upcoming 96th Academy Awards, will receive financial support of €3,000 and €8,000, respectively, for distribution leading up to their premieres in Germany next year.
In the production category, Demba, directed by New York-based Senegalese filmmaker, Mamadou Dia, will receive a substantial funding of €35,000, one of the highest allocations for this year’s funding programme. The feature film is a production collaboration involving Joyeddi Sarl (Senegal), Maba Ba, NiKo Film (Germany), and Nicole Gerhards.
In addition to these, Minimals in a Titanic World and The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder, will each be granted €25,000 for their respective productions.
Minimals in a Titanic World, also a feature film, is directed by Rwandan filmmaker, Philbert Aime Mbabazi Sharangabo and produced by Imitana Productions; while The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder is a documentary directed by Inadelso Cossa from Mozambique. It will be produced by 16mm Filmes.
It is noteworthy that both Cossa and Sharangabo previously participated in Berlinale Talents in 2015 and 2020.
The World Cinema Fund, established in 2004, is a collaborative initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin International Film Festival. Through its partnership with the German Federal Foreign Office and with support from the Goethe-Institut, the fund provides support for independent filmmakers and film production, especially in regions grappling with insufficient film infrastructure. The fund serves as a beacon for cultural diversity in German cinemas, fostering collaboration and amplifying underrepresented voices.
Expressing his amazement at the ingenuity of the selected projects, Vincenzo Bugno noted, “This is cinema as empathy and empathy as a cross-border take on life. We are delighted to support these projects”.