SØRFOND GRANTS FOR NINE PROJECTS IN 2023
Nine Norwegian film producers have together received a total of 4,975,000 Norwegian kroner in grants for co-production with producers in other countries through Sørfond in 2023. This year's grants go to productions from Sudan, Egypt, Georgia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Nepal, Turkey, and Yemen.
Nine productions have received grants from the Sørfond this week. The jury has selected two documentaries and seven feature films, receiving a total of 4,975,000 Norwegian kroner.
The Norwegian Film Institute received 47 applications for Sørfond this year, with a total application amount of 36 million kroner. For the 2023 application round, Sørfond has increased its budget from three million kroner to five million kroner. Since its establishment in 2011, Sørfond has provided grants to 87 productions, including this year's grants.
Sørfond was established to promote film production in countries where film production is limited due to political, social, or economic reasons. Qualified countries are determined by the DAC list, which is the OECD Development Assistance Committee's list of countries eligible for assistance.
Sørfond provides grants for feature films or documentaries produced by the main producer in DAC countries and a Norwegian minority producer. The director must be a citizen of, or reside in, a country on the DAC list. The film must primarily be shot in countries listed on this list.
Sørfond is financed through the foreign aid budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is managed by the Norwegian Film Institute in collaboration with Oslo Festival Agency.
This year's Sørfond jury consisted of Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya), filmmaker; Sophie Bourdon (France), film consultant; Leiv Igor Devold, director, associate professor at NTNU, and union leader of the Norwegian Film Directors; and Per Eirik Gilsvik, former head of Sørfond at Oslo Festival Agency, now at the Nobel Peace Center.
Statement from the jury:
«We had the honourable and exciting task of reading and evaluating the projects for this year’s round of grants from Sørfond. The projects have taken us on a journey to all corners of the world, introducing us to both contemporary stories and fresh takes on historic events. The quality of these compelling and socially relevant projects, from both talented debutants as well as more established names of global cinema, truly impressed the jury, and the task of reaching our final selection was a challenging one. However, a decision had to be made and we are proud to present nine selected projects that will receive a grant from Sørfond in this round of grants.
Our final selection includes two documentaries and seven fiction films. Four of the projects granted support will mark the debut feature films of the respective filmmakers. We are happy to be able to assist these filmmakers in pursuing their visions, and with a grant from Sørfond, we hope to contribute to these stories reaching a wide audience.
This year, the annual budget of Sørfond has been increased from 3 to 5 million NOK. It is a great privilege and joy as a jury to be able to increase the number of projects supported by the fund.»
Projects that have received grants from Sørfond in 2023
THE CAMERA NEVER CRIES
Director: Abuzar Osman Suliman ADAM and Elsadig Mohamed Ahmed Abdulgayoum
Norwegian co-producer: Arne Dahr and Finn McAlinden, Lightsource Film Productions
Producer: Alyaa Sirelkhatim Musa, Black Balance Artistic Production
Support: 475.000 NOK (€ 40.930)
For the last three years, Elsadig and Abuzar have been trying to make a film about the Sudanese revolution. The journey of this project starts when they realize that they accidentally filmed each other during the bloody morning of the massacre of Khartoum in June 2019. They continue filming their stark reality, inevitably becoming each other’s protagonists.
The Camera Never Cries takes us to the centre of a revolution fought by so many Sudanese and galvanised by the youth of the country. It is a candid experience of the chaos, loss, confusion and pain of a young and hopeful country – as told by two front-line journalists and debut documentary directors. Through it we follow the filmmakers in a search for truth, understanding – and a way forward for themselves and their country.
MY FATHER'S SCENT
Director: Mohamed Siam
Norwegian co-producer: Linda Bolstad Strønen, Marie Fuglestein Lægreid, and Ingrid Lill Høgtun, DUOfilm
Producer: Mohamed Siam, ArtKhana
Support: 600.000 NOK (€51.700)
A father-son story where both discover many secrets about the other while they try to settle their scores during a heated battle and one long night stroll.
The jury was drawn into the story-world of My Father´s Scent by an intense mystery driven father-son conflict, with strong characters and poignant dialogues. The script is driven by unsaid words that leaves it with room for poetry. The documentary background of the director, the well developed project and the director's personal angel - gives us hopes that the film will let us in on an underground Alexandria we are eager to see depicted on the silver screen. We believe it will be a film where the director's devotion to detail and truth will leave the audience captivated by the depths of a contradictory father-son relationship and that the film will let us reveal some secrets and lies of a modern-day Egyptian family.
Director: Levan Koguashvili
Norwegian co-producer: Elisa Fernanda Pirir, Stær
Producer: Olena Yershova, Kino Iberica
Support: 500.000 NOK ( € 43.000)
Guria 1992: When Zuriko, a young widower, can no longer sell his hazelnuts, debt collectors are closing in on him. He also has problems with his son and lacks a wife. So he courts the singing teacher Maya. But to win her over, he has to buy a new bed first, his ex-mother-in-law warns him. Meanwhile, policemen steal trolley bus cables, injured crooks are operated on with the help of electricity from a car battery, pest controllers fog up areas and girls have to milk cows to become beauty queens. That's life in Guria!
Guria is an astute dramedy about everyday life in a village in western Georgia. This poignant yet humorous slice of life brims with charming, loveable characters – fighting against all odds to live a proud and joyful life. Guria champions ingenuity, kindness and the eternal search for love despite a raging civil war. Though set after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is a timely reminder of how shared humanity and compassion are the truest measure of our capacity to survive.
Director: E del Mundo
Norwegian co-producer: Marie Fuglestein Lægreid, Ingrid Lill Høgtun, and Linda Bolstad Strønen, DUOfilm
Producer: Pamela L. Reyes, Create Cinema Inc
Support: 625 000 NOK (€53.850)
A young woman involved in a massacre explores the aftermath of her choices and the disappearance of her lover who recruited her for the crime.
Sam explores the diabolical cycle of violence and its ripple psychological effects on individuals through the brave journey of a 19-year-old woman. The film highlights one of the most ferocious massacres in the Philippines, in the Maguindanao province in 2009, during which the highest number of journalists ever in the entire world were killed. The jury was struck by the personal and mature treatment of this traumatic event by the young female filmmaker as well as by her strong cinematographic proposal. This engaging story, addressing freedom of speech, is very timely and is not only important for the Philippines and the country’s memory, but also has an obvious international reach.
THE DIFFICULT BRIDE
Director: Rubaiyat Hossain
Norwegian co-producer: Ingrid Lill Høgtun, Barentsfilm
Producer: Aadnan Imtiaz Ahmed, Khona Talkies
Support: 600.000 NOK (€51.700)
Days away from her wedding, Novera, a bride-to-be struggles with her body as it revolts in the most poetic but grotesque way against bridal rituals.
This daring portrait of the upper middle class of the Bangladeshi society, deals with the narrow gender roles and strict expectations to femininity for women in current day Dhaka. The script took us on an atmospheric and immersive journey, and the jury was fascinated and intrigued by the poetic, yet grotesque, way the filmmaker is planning to visualise the protagonist`s feelings and desires.
MARS AT NIGHTFALL
Director: Edgar Sajcabún
Norwegian co-producer: Dag Hoel, Dag Hoel Filmproduksjon
Producer: Sergio Ramírez, Surkum Cinematografía
Support: 500.000 NOK (€ 43.100)
Kem, an indigenous Maya boy in Guatemala, tries to solve his family's economic problems. He fears his father will migrate to a distant country and separate from his family. When the family's electricity is cut off and everything seems dark, Mars emerges to illuminate them.
Mars At Nightfall explores land dispossession and the marginalisation of indigenous communities in Guatemala through the eyes of a young boy. The jury was struck by the screenplay and its sensitive portrayal of the relationship between father and son in this coming-of-age story. We were impressed by the directors previous short films, and are very happy to support this project that will be the first feature film to be made in the Maya Kaqchikel language.
THE SKY IS MINE
Director: Deepak Rauniyar
Norwegian co-producer: Alan R. Milligan, Tannhauser Gate
Producer: Deepak Rauniyar, Aadi Production
Support: 625 000 NOK (€ 53.850)
In the heart of Nepal, as racial tensions peak, Detective Pooja has 48 hours to solve the kidnapping of two boys from different castes, a case that will propel her to a legendary status or forever tarnish her reputation.
The Sky Is Mine offers a poignant portrait of contemporary Nepal on the brink of change, an inside perspective into the struggles faced by marginalised communities such as Madhesis. The Jury was hooked by the script, highlighting strong women in the lead characters. Using the detective genre proves to be a judicious choice for tackling sensitive social issues, such as racism, in a more impactful manner, targeting wider audiences, both in Nepal and abroad.
AS SHADOWS FADE
Director: Burcu Aykar
Norwegian co-producer: Øistein Refseth, Mer Film
Producer: Nadir Öperli, Liman Film
Support: 600.000 NOK (€ 51.700)
Trapped by the Turkish heteronormative family ideal, Esin lives unaware of her passions. When she falls for the fiery, playful Deniz, a distant family friend who takes refuge in their house, she discovers the possibility of a genuine life. Their intimacy pushes her to transcend her boundaries.
As Shadows Fade is a strong captivating story told in a subtle way with an eye for nuances. The script convinced the Jury of a mature storyteller in this female debut project helmed by Burcu Aykar. We got an insight into a complex coming-of-age story with strong and well developed characters. Esin’s detective-like inquiry on the truth about Deniz, draws us into a genuine experience of modern love in contemporary Turkey. We hope the film will be an intriguing psychological drama with strong entertaining components for young adults and adults, that will make it reach its audience, and a film where the main character transcends the boundaries of characters we often see in Turkish movies. As Shadows Fade will hopefully be a rare and much needed example of a love story between two women in Turkish cinema.
Norwegian co-producer: KriStine Ann Skaret, Stray Dog Productions
Support: 450.000 NOK (€ 38.790)
* This production is treated as a confidential project due to the security situation for the filmmakers involved.