First IDFA Bertha Fund selection of 2021 supports ten projects with 125k total

    • News
    • March 3, 2021
    • By the staff

    The IDFA Bertha Fund (IBF) has selected ten documentary projects to receive funding through IBF Classic, the Fund’s flagship grant program that supports independent, critical, and artistic voices from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The selection, which includes four projects in development and six in production or post-production, covers all five of the IBF-supported regions, offering the filmmakers a combined sum of €124,980 to help realize their projects. In addition to the grant, the selected project teams will receive tailor-made support from IDFA’s Filmmaker Support department, and opportunities for connecting with IDFA’s professional network year-round.

    Alongside embracing the geographical spread and gender diversity of the documentary world, this selection round speaks to the growing need to support filmmakers whose freedom of artistic expression is under threat.

    “It was a breath of fresh air to be invited into the worlds of filmmakers who, despite all that has happened in the last year, are continuing to work on their projects and realize their documentaries. It’s becoming clear that in more and more places in the world, filmmakers are increasingly working under constraints imposed by their societies and governments that make it incredibly difficult to realize their projects. As a result, having that space to develop and touch upon sensitive stories and make a film is becoming more and more difficult. The IDFA Bertha Fund’s selection reflects this issue, in part, but it also presents projects by filmmakers who are exploring form and bringing us important contemporary stories,” said Isabel Arrate Fernandez, Deputy Director of IDFA and Managing Director of the IBF.

    The first IBF grantees of 2021 are:


    Germano Black Society (Brazil)
    dir. Everlane Moraes

    The absence of black personalities in Brazilian high society took Germano de Souza to organize and promote events for notorious black individuals in places traditionally occupied by the white elites.

    Niñxs (Mexico)
    dir. Kani Lapuerta

    In the magical town of Tepoztlán, Mexico, Mati faces a binary society that tries to fit them into one gender or another. Between games and prejudices, this child is in the middle of their journey to adolescence, taking off a timid but certain flight towards the construction of their own identity.

    The Wall of Death (Morocco)
    dir. Amine Sabir

    Hassan and Khadra have been living from the motorcycle show for 40 years, but they refuse to let their daughter Zahra, passionate about football and motorcycles, take over. At 27, Zahra is torn between solidarity with her family and the desire to assert her personality by choosing another path.

    Zoo (Georgia, Russia)
    dir. Evgeniia Marchenko

    A dozen or so single girls from remote provinces of Russia live together in a communal apartment in the center of St. Petersburg trying to survive harsh economic conditions while dreaming of happiness, love and family.

    Production & post-production

    Abo Zabala Prison 1989 (Egypt, Germany)
    dir. Bassam Mortada

    Bassam, a filmmaker, reaches out to his estranged father. He reconstructs traumatic memories of events in 1989, which were devastating for his father and had a huge impact on him and his mother. Can an artistic recreation of the past help them confront their traumas?

    Cutting Through Rocks* (Iran, Germany)
    dir. Mohammad Reza Eyni & dir. Sara Khaki

    Eat Bitter 吃苦 (Central African Republic, United States)
    dir. Pascala Appora-Gnekindy & dir. Ningyi Sun

    Against the backdrop of civil war in the poverty-stricken Central African Republic, a Chinese construction manager and a local African laborer work on opposite ends of the spectrum to construct a sparkling new bank. As deadlines loom, unexpected twists threaten their jobs, relationships, and plans for a better life.

    I, Poppy* (India)
    dir. Vivek H. Chaudhary

    The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder (Mozambique, France, Germany, Portugal, Norway)
    dir. Inadelso Cossa

    Concerned with the fragmented memories of his childhood during the civil war in Mozambique, Inadelso Cossa returns to his grandmother’s village to reveal the untold stories that still haunt his generation.

    We Are Inside (Lebanon, Qatar, Denmark)
    dir. Farah Kassem

    After more than a decade, Farah returns to her hometown Tripoli in Lebanon to stay with her widowed aging father Mustapha. It's her last chance to reconcile with him though it must be through the only language he understands, poetry.

    *Project logline not available.

    Selection committee

    The IDFA Bertha Fund Classic selection committee included María Campaña Ramia (Associate Programmer, IDFA; Program Advisor, Encuentros del Otro Cine [EDOC]), Hicham Falah (Artistic Director, FIDADOC; Artistic Director, International Women Film Festival of Sale), Adrian Kawaley-Lathan (Creative Director, Bertha Foundation), Alex Szalat (President, Docs Up Fund), and Isabel Arrate Fernandez (Deputy Director, IDFA; Managing Director, IDFA Bertha Fund).

    The IBF Classic grant will open for entry again at the beginning of May, with the next application deadline on June 10. Learn more about the funding category. The IDFA Bertha Fund is currently accepting submissions to the IBF Europe – International Co-production category until April 1. Go to the call for submissions.

    Film still: Cutting Through Rocks, dir. Mohammad Reza Eyni & dir. Sara Khaki.

    The IDFA Bertha Fund is supported by Bertha Foundation, Creative Europe Media, JustFilms / Ford Foundation, and Special Friends+.


    Call for submissions: IDFA Bertha Fund Europe – International Co-production funding scheme

    • Industry
    • February 16, 2021
    • The staff

    IDFA Bertha Fund Application Categories

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