Supporting documentary films

IDFA Bertha Fund Classic

IBF Classic offers development and production support to filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The Fund maintains a list of focus countries (see button below), and only filmmakers from these countries are eligible to apply. The applications the Fund receives are assessed by an international selection committee consisting of members active in the documentary film industry in various capacities, taking into account certain selection criteria (see button below). The IBF Classic funding scheme consists of two categories: Project Development and Production & Post-production.

Project Development: Contributions for the development of a project during the early phase play a crucial role in starting up a project. The maximum contribution is € 5,000. Filmmakers may use the contribution for research, development of a script and/or production of a trailer. Production and Post-production: Financial support during the production phase allows filmmakers to make a start on the actual realization of their projects. During the post-production phase, a contribution can cover the cost of editing, as well as sound design/mix and color correction and everything else that is necessary to have films ready for screening on television, in cinemas and at film festivals. The maximum contribution is € 17,500. The filmmakers may use the contribution for all forms of production and post-production.

Still from Roma, by Olga Zhurba.

IBF Classic Selection 2019

In 2019, 8 projects received development support and 13 projects received support for production and post-production. The total amount awarded for IBF Classic was € 240,600: for development support € 39,600 and for production and post-production support € 201,000.

Development Cowboy Love by Manuel Abramovich, Argentina A gay cowboy community in Mexico reinvents the classical cowboy figure. With the tone of mexican telenovela, Cowboy Love is about their own love stories. Do You Love Me by Lana Daher, Lebanon, Qatar, Germany An archive-based essay documentary about the bitter sweet personal accounts of the generations that transitioned from youth to adulthood during & post the Lebanese Civil War. The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir, Morocco, France A young Moroccan woman’s search for truth tangles with a web of lies in her family’s history. The filmmaker fuses personal and national history as she reflects on the 1981 Bread Riots.

Reas by Lola Arias, Argentina A group of women and trans people in Ezeiza Prison in Buenos Aires wait out their sentences, reconstructing scenes from their past lives and imagining their future lives in the form of a musical. The Shubert Effect by Aleksandr Elkan, Russia A group of passionate amateur filmmakers from Siberia led by eccentric and unpredictable Shubert try to fight against harsh Russian reality. The Witnesses From the Shadows by Ousmane Samassekou, Mali/France Bordering the Sahel desert stands a house, as a safe haven for African migrants on their way to Europe, or returning home having to face their family. Two of the selected projects in this category wish to remain anonymous, due to the sensitive topic the projects touch upon.

Still from The Mother of All Lies, by Asmae El Moudir.

Production and Post-production

143 Sahara Street by Hassen Ferhani, Algeria/France A multilayered portrait gradually emerges of an independent woman in a world that seems to exist outside of time in the middle of the Algerian Sahara. The Billion Dollar Road by Dieudo Hamadi, Democratic Republic of Congo/France Since two decades, the victims of the Six-Day War have been fighting in Kisangani for the recognition of this bloody conflict and demanding compensation. They have finally decided to voice their claims in Kinshasa. Children of the Mist by Diem Ha Le, Vietnam In the misty mountains of North Vietnam, a teenage Hmong girl walks the thin line between childhood and becoming an adult. The Earth is Blue as an Orange by Iryna Tsilyk, Ukraine/ Lithuania In the surreal conditions of the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine, Anna and her children decide to make a feature film about their own life, re-coding their traumas as an artwork. Kamay by Sharokh Bikaran, Afghanistan Freshta attempts to obtain admission to the Kabul University, while her parents are fighting for justice in one of the most corrupt judicial systems in the world. Last Days of Sea by Venice C. Atienza, Philippines The film is an impossible pause of life. It is an attempt to keep the last moments of a boy's childhood, before it is left behind in search for a better future.

The Other Side by Iván Guarnizo, Colombia/Spain Two brothers are searching the traces of their mother who was kidnapped some years ago by the FARC Guerrilla. Pandora’s Box by Zhao Liang, Hong Kong Devastated landscapes in Kazakhstan, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, nuclear plant dismantling in Germany and construction of the largest waste landfill in Finland. Roma by Olga Zhurba, Ukraine/The Netherlands A coming of age portrait of Roma from being a 13-year old hero of the Maidan revolution, through an orphanage to an uncertain adulthood in his small Ukrainian home town. Sunless Shadows by Mehrdad Oskouei, Iran/Norway A picture of life in an Iranian juvenile detention center, where a group of adolescent girls serve their sentence for murdering a male member of their family. Then They Would be Gone by Maheen Zia, Pakistan Amidst wheat fields, a carnival world appears - an ephemeral city. We enter this space, traversing through the heart of Pakistan with three nomadic artist families. Two of the selected projects in this category wish to remain anonymous, due to the sensitive topic the projects touch upon.

Geographical Spread:

503 applications in 2019

21 projects selected in 2019

Applications from 76 different countries Selected projects from 17 different countries

The Selection Committee

1st IBF Classic selection round: Alex Szalat (President, Docs Up Fund) Rebecca Lichtenfeld (Director, Social Impact Media at Bertha Philanthropies) María Campaña Ramia (Programmer, Ambulante Documentary Film Festival; Program Advisor, IDFA and Encuentros del Otro Cine 'EDOC') Orwa Nyrabia (Artistic Director, IDFA) Isabel Arrate Fernandez (Managing Director, IDFA Bertha Fund) 2nd IBF Classic selection round: Maite Alberdi (Filmmaker/Producer, Micromundo Producciones) Rebecca Lichtenfeld (Director, Social Impact Media at Bertha Philanthropies) Mohamed Siam (Filmmaker, Artkhana) Henrik Underbjerg (Producer, Stray Dog Productions) Isabel Arrate Fernandez (Managing Director, IDFA Bertha Fund)

Emerging Talent

First-time filmmakers: 10 (48%)

Second-time filmmakers: 7 (33%)

Total 1st and 2nd time filmmakers: 17 (81%)

Women directors

Women directors: 11 (48%)

Women producers: 15 (44%)

In total: 26 (46%) women directors and producers

Press Freedom

Selection from countries with press freedom under threat: 14 projects

with press freedom under severe threat: 2 projects

In total: 16 projects (76%)

Click here to see the complete 2019 World Press Freedom Index