Sri Lanka’s Vimukthi Jayasundara and Guatemala’s César Díaz, winners of the Cannes Golden Camera for “The Forsaken Land” (2005) and “Nuestras madres” (2019) respectively, are among the recipients of the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of the International Film Festival Rotterdam‘s (IFFR) HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production Support scheme for 2022.
Out of 25 applications, six projects by filmmakers from Argentina, Egypt, Guatemala, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Yemen have been awarded a contribution of €60,000 ($60,854) each through their European co-producers in Austria, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.
Jayasundara is supported for “Turtle’s Gaze on Spying Stars” (France/Sri Lanka, House on Fire), set on a mysterious resort where the protagonist must quarantine and reckon with his past on his return to Sri Lanka, while Díaz gets it for “Fidelidad” (Guatemala/Belgium, Lemming Film Belgium), a love triangle set on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.
In “The Station” (Yemen/Jordan/France/the Netherlands, Keplerfilm) by Yemeni-Scottish filmmaker Sara Ishaq (Oscar nominee for 2012’s “Karama Has No Walls”), the war in Yemen looms over a women-only petrol station, where the relationship between two sisters is pushed to breaking point amid a fuel crisis. The project’s development was previously supported by the HBF and it was presented at IFFR’s co-production market in 2020 where it won the Wouter Barendrecht Award.
In Singaporean filmmaker Wei Liang Chiang‘s feature debut “Mongrel” (Singapore/Taiwan/France, Deuxième Ligne Films), an illegal Thai migrant gets caught up in a human trafficking operation, supposedly a care-giving scheme, in rural Taiwan. The project has been developed at Cinéfondation Résidence, Talents Tokyo, and TorinoFilmLab, with development funds also from the HBF.
A reformed gang of hard-boiled thieves are the stars of “La escuela pesada” (Argentina/Austria/Chile, Nabis Filmgroup GmbH) from Argentinian filmmaker Hernán Rosselli, whose “Mauro” screened at IFFR 2015. Mohamed Rashad explores labor abuses in Egypt in “The Settlement” (Egypt/France/Germany, Caractères Productions) and the project was presented at CineMart in 2021 as part of the BoostNL program.
The Old Vic and Sonia Friedman Productions have released a first look for “Eureka Day,” starring Oscar-winning actor Helen Hunt (“As Good as It Gets”). The European premiere production of Jonathan Spector’s play is directed by Katy Rudd (“The Ocean at the End of the Lane”).
Set against the backdrop of a mumps outbreak at a progressive private elementary school in California in 2017, “Eureka Day” is a satire on the quest for consensus; the central question of ‘to vaccinate’ or ‘not to vaccinate’ taking on a whole new meaning in 2022.
The cast also includes Kirsten Foster (“Life of Pi”), Mark McKinney (“Superstore”), Ben Schnetzer (“Pride”) and Susan Kelechi Watson (“This Is Us”).
“Eureka Day” is now on until Oct. 31 at London’s The Old Vic.
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