Film is one of today’s most important cultural expressions. Film, as an art form and as cultural expression, combines in a unique way other art forms such as music, drama and moving images. Movies are, at one and the same time, entertainment, an independent artistic expression, and a medium reflecting both our past and our future. Film is also about identity, community, freedom of expression and sense of belonging.
The Norwegian Film Institute and the Films from the South Foundation have recognised that it is difficult for filmmakers in developing countries to realise film projects that are locally based, despite the great demand for such productions. Filmmakers in developing countries have the need for both production capital and international professional networks. It is in that spirit that SØRFOND was created.
FUNDING BY THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT
NOK 8.6 million (approximately € 1 million) has been granted for support from 2012 to 2014 and NOK 13.4 million (approximately € 1.6 million) will be granted for production support from 2015-2018 through an inter-departmental cooperation between The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Norwegian Ministry of Culture. The Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) and the Films from the South Foundation (FFS) will jointly be in charge of the administration of the fund.
The grant shall contribute to strengthen film as a cultural expression, to promote diversity and artistic integrity on the international film scene, and to strengthen freedom of expression. The grant shall also contribute to an increased cooperation between Norwegian and international film industries. The purpose of SØRFOND grants is to stimulate the production of films in developing countries where such production is limited by political or economic causes.
PROJECTS FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
SØRFOND applies to grants for the production of films with a main producer based in a country on the OECD’s current list of countries and territories eligible to receive assistance (DAC-list). In addition, the director must have citizenship from, or be resident in, a country on the DAC-list. The film must, for the most part, be shot in a country on the DAC-list. In exceptional cases, derogations may be made regarding the establishment of the main producer in a DAC-listed country, if, due to political reasons, the film cannot be produced in that particular country.
NORWEGIAN CO-PRODUCER REQUIRED
The Norwegian co-producer must be a private and independent production company established in Norway that is not predominantly publicly owned, nor substantially related to a broadcasting organisation. The application for production support must be sent by the Norwegian co-producer. A list of Norwegian producers can be found at www.sorfond.com. The SØRFOND Pitching Forum in Oslo in October is a recommended place for meeting Norwegian co-producers.
FICTION OR DOCUMENTARIES, MINIMUM 50 MIN. RUNNING TIME
SØRFOND supports fiction films or documentaries with a minimum running time of 50 minutes, produced for screening in cinemas, on television, or on other audiovisual media platforms.
At least 50% of the budget must already be confirmed at the time of submitting the application.
MAXIMUM SUPPORT NOK 1 MILLION
The grant shall not exceed NOK 1 million (approximately € 130 000). Up to 10% of the grant amount may be retained by the minority production company in order to cover its administrative costs.
ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION
The assessment and selection of the applications shall be based on an overall assessment of artistic, production-related, economical and technical aspects of the project. Particular emphasis is placed on the purpose of SØRFOND and the project’s cultural identity, including the use of local languages and local shooting locations. Emphasis is also placed on the director’s and the producers’ experience, as well as the representation of women in key positions.
A panel consisting of three to five members appointed by the Norwegian Film Institute processes the applications and nominates candidates to the Norwegian Film Institute, which holds the decision-making power. At least one member from a DAC-listed country shall be represented in the panel.
EVALUATION OF SØRFOND
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs finalized an evaluation report of SØRFOND in August 2015. The research has been conducted by Telemarksforskning and you can download the report in english here or a norwegian version here.