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Hubert Bals Fund Award goes to WASHINGTON at Yerevan’s DAB Forum

The Hubert Bals Fund Award has been given to WASHINGTON by Andro Sakvarelidze & Giga Chkheidze (Georgia) as Best Project out of twelve presented at the 2nd DAB Co-Production Forum (July 15-17). The Forum is part of the Yerevan International Film Festival (July 13-20) in Armenia. The Hubert Bals Fund Award, aimed to support the filmmakers in developing their project, comes with a prize money of Euro 5,000.

The DAB Regional Co-Production Forum is organized by the Golden Apricot Fund for Cinema Development and Directors Across Borders (DAB), a regional network within the Golden Apricot festival of film directors and film professionals living in the Caucasus and in the neighbouring countries. The Forum includes workshops, a pitching session, one-to-one meetings and a regional film programme.

WASHINGTON sees the world through the eyes of a ten-year old boy from Georgia, a country going through a period of challenges and instability. The attention of the boy is drawn towards the portrait on a one-dollar bill. The action of the film is born out of the child’s fantasy: an imaginary trip that shows the boy how money gets people in trouble in identical ways everywhere.

Hubert Bals Fund Manager Bianca Taal about the project: “WASHINGTON stood out in terms of original storytelling and a vivid pitch highlighting the visual approach of the film. The project raises the question of what those who are long gone would have to say and tell and looks at questions of globalism with a unique approach.”

Directors’ biographies
Andro Sakvarelidze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. He graduated from the State Film Institute of Moscow (VGIK): Faculty of Filmmaking and Dramaturgy. He has participated in several screenplay projects in Georgia and other countries.

Giga Chkheidze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. He graduated from the National Theatre and Film School in Tbilisi, Camera Faculty. Since 1999 he has been realizing a number of independent film projects. His films have been screened in many International Film Festivals (Rotterdam, Oberhausen, New Directors / New Films) and film programmes such as MOMA NY, The Film Society of Lincoln Centre NY, Anthology Film Archives NY, INPUT San Sebastian as well as broadcasted on several TV Channels as ARTE, 3 SAT, ZDF, Movieola - the Short Film Channel (Canada), Art Channel (France). He has been awarded at several international film festivals.

Profile of the Hubert Bals Fund
Along with CineMart, the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) is part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). The 38th IFFR will take place January 21 – February 1, 2009. Year-round news on IFFR, HBF and CineMart can be found on the festival website

The Hubert Bals Fund is designed to bring remarkable or urgent feature films and feature-length creative documentaries by innovative and talented filmmakers from developing countries closer to completion. The Hubert Bals Fund provides grants that often turn out to play a crucial role in enabling these filmmakers to realize their projects. Although the Fund looks closely at the financial aspects of a project, the decisive factors remain its content and artistic value. Since the Fund started in 1988, close to 600 projects from independent filmmakers in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America have received support. Approximately 80% of these projects have been realised or are currently in production. Every year, the IFFR screens completed films supported by the Fund.

The Hubert Bals Fund is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch non-governmental development organisations Hivos and NCDO, the DOEN Foundation and Dutch public broadcasting network NPS.

Grants and selection rounds
Annually, the Hubert Bals Fund has close to Euro 1,2 million at its disposal and is able to make individual grants of up to Euro 10,000 for script and project development, Euro 20,000 for digital production, Euro 30,000 for post-production or Euro 15,000 towards distribution costs in the country of origin. Selection rounds take place twice a year and have application deadlines on March 1 and August 1.

Training, workshops, the Hubert Bals Fund Awards
The Fund supports training initiatives for filmmakers in Ethiopa, Philippines, Costa Rica and Uganda. In Armenia and other countries, the Hubert Bals Fund participates in co-production meetings. On these occasions, Hubert Bals Fund Awards are granted to the most promising film projects.

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