Celebrating its fifth year, the Balkan Fund event, Thessaloniki's International Film Festival Script Development Fund, is due to take place during the 48th edition of the festival in November 2007, 17th to 19th inclusive. 13 projects from 6 different countries have been announced as the 2007 nominated projects of the Balkan Fund.
"With programs such as the Balkan Fund the city of Thessaloniki retains the position of one of the most important cultural centers of Southeastern Europe, as far as filmmaking and the important issue of script development is concerned. It also helps the Greek film industry, in the sense that the nominated projects are included in a greater international context, paired with projects of similar budget and production background", notes the Director of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Despina Mouzaki.
The projects nominated for the 4 prizes of the Balkan Fund are the following in alphabetic order:
1. Adventures of the Little Shoemaker, writer/director Silvije Petranovic (Croatia)
2. Building Manager, The, writer/director Periklis Hoursoglou (Greece)
3. First of All, Felicia, writers/directors Melissa de Raaf & Razvan Radulescu, producer Ada Solomon (Romania)
4. Happiest Girl in the World, The, writers Radu Jude & Augustina Stanciu, director Radu Jude, producer Ada Solomon (Romania)
5. Metastases, writer/director Branko Schmidt, (Croatia)
6. Mother, writer/director Juraj Lerotic, producer Olinka Vistica (Croatia)
7. Poor Little Things, The, writer Onder Cakar, director Ozer Kiziltan, producer Sevil Demirci Cakar (Turkey)
8. Rio, writers Nicolas Panoutsopoulos & Argyris Germanidis, director Nicolas Panoutsopoulos (Greece)
9. Safiye, writer/director Huseyin Karagoz (Turkey)
10. Some Other Stories, writers/directorsAna Marija Rossi, Ines Tanovic, Marija Dzidzeva, Hanna Slak, Ivova Juka, producer Nenad Dukic (Serbia)
11. Thundestorm Pearls, writer/director Andrianos Georgantas, producer Dionissis Samiotis (Greece/Cyprus)
12. Tour, The, writer/director Goran Markovic, producer Harris Davas (Serbia/Greece)
13. Way It Is, The, writer Hrvoje Zurapic, director Nebojsa Slijepcevic, producer Ankica Juric Tilic (Croatia
The nominated projects will be presented by their writers, directors and producers during this year's 3-day event at the 48th edition of the Festival, from November 17 to 19, to an international jury (to be announced), who after the 3-day workshop and open discussion with each applicant, will grant 4 out of the 13 projects with a 10.000 € ticket each, thus contributing to the development of their scripts. One of the main goals of the Balkan Fund is for all nominated projects to benefit from their participation in the workshop, regardless of the jury's decision and the awards. The projects' members are given the opportunity to communicate and present their ideas in the presence of international film professionals such as fund directors, commissioning editors, producers, distributors and sales agents, who are specifically invited to Thessaloniki to follow the proceedings of the Balkan Fund.
The Balkan Fund is established as one of the region's major film events and the premiere Balkan showcase for new and provocative work, promoting and nurturing new filmmakers and original trends in contemporary filmmaking. During the last 5 years the Balkan Fund has showcased important creators and films, such as Grbavica (Golden Bear, Berlin Film Festival), The Tuning (Main prize, Mannheim Film Festival and Best Feature Film award, Napoli Film Festival), Gucha – Distant Trumpet (Berlinale's Panorama 2007), as well as California Dreaming (Main prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes).
"The Balkan Fund meets this year with an even more substantial increase of interest. Because of the Palme d'Or (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu) and last year's Golden Bear (Grbavica by Jasmila Zbanic), awards won for films made by Balkan Fund nominees of the past years, the Fund has finally drawn the industry's attention to the region", says Balkan Fund artistic director Christina Kallas. "People have started considering it for what it is: A region with limited means which, because of its small scope, is focused on telling stories in an inventive way. We are extremely proud that the Balkan Fund, stressing the importance of screenwriting, functions as an inspiring event in the most important process of development of new filmmaking in the Balkans. We are happy that we have ensured the market's trust regarding the quality of the nominated projects."
Many films of renowned scriptwriters and directors nominated in the Balkan Fund are currently in the pipeline. Some of these highly anticipated projects are Baby Photo (written by Andrei Codrescu and Ted Thomas and directed by Cristian Mungiu), Hidden Faces (written and directed by Handan Ipekci), Welcome Aboard (written and directed by Costantine Giannaris), The Coat (written and directed by Kutlug Ataman), Small Crime (written by Christos Georgiou and Srdjan Koljevic and directed by Christos Georgiou), Kingdom Cum (written by Dimitrije Vojnov and directed by Srdjan Dragojevic), A Heart Shaped Balloon (written byBogdan Mustata and directed by Catalin Mitulescu) and Principles of Life (written by Razvan Radulescu and directed by Radu Jude).
The Balkan Fund is run by Christina Kallas, artistic director and Lucia Rikaki, coordinator. It is co-funded by the CNC and the Goethe Film Institute.