SØRFOND grants support for five new projects

Four feature films and one documentary have been selected and will recieve grants from film fund SØRFOND in 2014. There is a great quality and variety in this year applicants. The selected projects show a mixture of plots, genres and themes, ranging from the mythical and political universe of Palme D'or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakhul in Thailand via an African hairdresser and her Albino daughter in Ghana - to domestic drama in Haiti.

Av 13. mar 2014

Of 63 applications received, 5 productions were granted support by an international jury consisting of Haifaa Al-Mansour (Saudi Arabia), Dag Johan Haugerud (Norway) and Tone Johnsen (Norway).

The jury´s comment: 
The scripts represent a mix of personal, political and social themes. If we should mention just one common theme, a concern for identity and memory is prominent in many of the scripts. Almost all the scripts are very promising, and with a bigger fund, and more money, we could easily have supported more projects. However, 5 of the scripts stand out with vision, originality and creativity. These are scripts that in different ways have an urgency and importance, and that we all hope to see realized in the near future.                                                                                                                                                     

The following productions received funding: 

Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Script: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Country: Thailand
Main producer: Kick the Machine
Norwegian co-producer: Tordenfilm / Eric Vogel, Ingunn Sundelin
Amount of support: NOK 400 000

Project brief:
In a small town in Thailand, 27 soldiers come down with a strange case of sleeping sickness. A middle-aged woman visits the hospital and develops a relationship with one of the sleeping soldiers. Cemetery of Kings is a script with the ability to draw you into a dream-like and mythical world. The storytelling goes hand in hand with the emotional journey of our heroine Jenjira. The script's artistic value is demonstrated in dialogue, character-description and cinematic vision.

Why it was chosen:
It is a superb piece of art. It is a highly original script with unpredictable dialogue. It mixes the political and mythical with everyday situations.  

LAMB (fiction)
Yared Zeleke
Yared Zeleke
Main producer:
Slum Kid Films
Norwegian co-producer:
Film Farms / Alan R. Milligan
Amount of support:
NOK 450 000

Project brief: A semi-autobiographical drama that incorporates the heart, heartache and humour of every day life in Ethiopia. The film explores how a young boy deals with the loss of home and family, against the backdrop of a changing climate. Told through a child's perspective, the subject matter and tone remains complex and nuanced, while maintaining its tenderness and innocence.

Why it was chosen:
This is a sincere and emotional story. It is a gentle and original approach on the subject of heritage, identity and history, told with humour, passion and clarity. The main character is grounded, charming and believable.

GITI – PARADISE IN HELL (documentary)
Director: Niyongabo Yves Montand
Script: Niyongabo Yves Montand
Country: Rwanda
Main producer: Almond Tree Films Rwanda ltd
Norwegian co-producer: Barentsfilm as / Ingrid Lill Høgtun
Amount of support: NOK 300 000

Project brief:
A documentary about a village where the inhabitants collectively stood up against the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Giti, with its population of 450 000, was the only place in Rwanda were the genocide did not take place, and remained the only safe and secure place for relief. The main protagonists are three people who took great risks in protecting its people. They stood up against the government's decision to supply the village with weapons to kill the Tutsis. It is a fascinating story of triumph for humanity.

Why it was chosen:
The film is a celebration of life that honours the good in people. It shows that humanity can survive under chaotic and cruel circumstances. The director provides a clear vision, and is telling a relative unknown story that the world needs to know.

Director: Akosua Adoma Owusu
Script: Akosua Adoma Owusu
Country: Ghana/Mexico
Main producer: Piano / Julio Chavazmontes, Mexico
Norwegian co-producer: Barentsfilm AS / Ingrid Lill Høgtun
Amount of support: NOK 425 000
2014 update: The project Black Sunshine has chosen to decline Sørfond support. 

Project brief:
This is a story about an African hairdresser and her albino daughter. The main focus is the emotionally complex relationship between a mother and her daughter. The mother feels ashamed of her own albino daughter, and ironically, her own blackness. The script is poetic, humorous and brutal at the same time. It is also a document of everyday life in Ghana.

Why it was chosen:
This script is about questioning beliefs, colour and race in an original and unpredictable way. It's an emotional and moving story about self-acceptance and shame. It also has a universal theme about our perception of body, beauty and sex.

Director: Raoul Peck
Script: Lyonel Trouillot, Pascal Bonitzer and Raoul Peck
Country: Haiti
Main producer: Velvet Film
Norwegian co-producer: Ape&Bjørn / Ruben Thorkildsen
Amount of support: NOK 425 000

Project brief:
This is s film about a well-off, married couple, trying to cope with the consequences after the earthquake in 2010. It is a complex domestic drama that explains the social and political situation in Haiti without compromising the plot and the structure. The main location that confines the people is one of the protagonists itself. The script is written in collaboration with the well-known Haitian writer, Lyonel Trouillot, and the film is inspired by Pasolinis, Teorema.

Why it was chosen:
The script is a take on identity and class, and how we relate to major change. It is a well-developed script with clever dialogue and Pinteresque characters that we can relate to. An important and urgent project, both politically and socially. It is also a revealing portrait about how to handle a relationship during major crisis.