THE BALKAN FUND
THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT FUND
After the success of the film Grbavica which was the first completed film to emerge from the Balkan Fund and which won last year’s Golden Bear award, The Tuning which received the main prize at the Mannheim Film Festival and the Best Feature Film award at the Napoli Film Festival and Gucha – Distant Trumpet which just started its festival career, other highly anticipated projects in the pipeline are: Hidden Faces (Handan Ipekci), Welcome Aboard (Costantine Giannaris), The Coat (Kutlug Ataman), Small Crime (Christos Georgiou) and Cum in the Rye (Srdjan Dragojevic).
Why script development?
The importance of the screenplay to the artistic and commercial success of a film project is a now long acknowledged fact. Script development is an area, which although much less costly than production itself, lacks substantial support, especially in the Balkans. The International Thessaloniki Film Festival has therefore initiated and operates the Balkan Fund since 2003. In its fourth consecutive year the Balkan Fund has added a new initiative, “Balkan Fund Presents”, which intermittently aims at focusing on areas, which it identifies as areas of concern for the region. In 2006 the Balkan Fund has thus organized the First Conference on European Screenwriting in collaboration with the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe and with support of the Robert Bosch Foundation, the European Film Academy, the FFA, LIRA, SACD, VG Wort, the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute and the Greek Film Centre. The conference brought together 125 screenwriters from Western and Eastern Europe to discuss the nature and state of European screenwriting, at a time when things are changing, also due to digitalisation and globalisation.
Why the Balkans?
The Thessaloniki Film Festival Script Development Fund addresses a geographical area which is not fully covered by any other festival fund: the Balkans or South-Eastern Europe, specifically Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, FYROM, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey. The Balkan Fund, from historically multicultural Thessaloniki, supports filmmakers from this region in their efforts to develop their projects as professionally as possible and thus supports the filmmaking process in what has historically been one of the most explosive regions of modern day Europe, a region full of stories waiting to be told.
What is the Festival’s benefit?
In return for its support the Thessaloniki International Film Festival has the right to host the international premiere of the films it has supported and thus contribute further to the development of new talent in the international film scene.
What are the selection criteria?
The main concern is to evaluate the artistic and storytelling content of the projects. Each project is judged on its own merits. However, there are some basic criteria which need to be met:
• The Balkan Fund only supports feature-length fiction projects with a potential for theatrical release.
• The development and production country must belong to the above mentioned group of countries.
• The project has to be original, authentic and directly connected to the history and culture of its country of origin.
• The Balkan Fund only supports projects, which have a realistic and complete development and production plan.
What is the exact procedure?
All applications have to be submitted in English. The applications, which fulfill the selection criteria will be first evaluated by a group of experienced readers, while each project will receive two reports by two different readers, in order to avoid selection on the basis of personal artistic preference alone. The first round will lead to the nomination of twelve projects, which will be then forwarded to the international jury. The international jury is composed each year of active and development-experienced film professionals, while the nominated projects are also presented to a selected group of high profile industry professionals, both through the open jury sessions as well as through scheduled individual meetings. Based on their position and network the jury and the invited industry professionals can help further the career of all twelve nominated projects.
The twelve nominated projects will be eventually presented in a three-day workshop in the context of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, held annually in November. During the workshop the twelve nominated filmmakers/ groups will present their project to the international jury and to the selected group of producers, distributors and sales agents who are invited to be present. The sessions are also open to the festival’s accredited professionals.
Thus all twelve projects receive a presentation platform and the possibility of getting support from co-producers and other professionals present at the event, even if not in the group of the finally awarded projects. All twelve nominated projects will be acknowledged by the Balkan Fund, which certifies that they have been nominated and participated in the Fund’s workshop.
The Balkan Fund awards its financial support once a year to four feature film screenplays. The announcement of each year’s awards and next year’s application date is made during the International Thessaloniki Film Festival in November.
Who is running the fund?
The Balkan Fund is an initiative of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and is co-financed by the CNC and the Goethe Institute. It is run by Christina Kallas (artistic director) coordinated by Lucia Rikaki and managed by Angeliki Vergou.
THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTION
FOR SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT IS 10.000 € PER PROJECT