SØRFOND was established back in 2011, after an initiative by the Films from the South Festival, a festival run by Stiftelsen Festivalkontoret. Since the beginning SØRFOND has been jointly run by Stiftelsen Festivalkontoret and the Norwegian Film Institute.
Stiftelsen Festivalkontoret and the Norwegian Film Institute recognised that it is difficult for filmmakers in developing countries to realise film projects that are locally based, despite the great demand for such productions. Filmmakers in developing countries have the need for both production capital and international professional networks. It is in that spirit that SØRFOND was created.
FUNDING BY THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT
From the start in 2011, SØRFOND has been supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With the help from the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sørfond has since the beginning in 2011, supported 42 films from developing countries. With support from Creative Europe's MEDIA-programme, an additional 5 films was supported through one round of grants from Sørfond+ in 2017.
In 2019, SØRFOND will hand out NOK 2.66 million (approximately € 275.000 ) as production grants.
Sørfond's overall objective is to strengthen film production in developing countries where film production is limited for political or economic reasons.
Sørfond is to help to reinforce film as a cultural expression, promote diversity and artistic integrity, and strengthen freedom of speech in developing countries. Sørfond is also to contribute to closer cooperation between the Norwegian and international film industries.
PROJECTS FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
NEW LIST OF ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES:
Projects from countries on the Norwegian Government's list of countries eligible to receive aid (ODA) from Norway, are qualified to apply production support from SØRFOND. The complete list of eligible countries, updated in January 2019, can be found here
The main producer must be established in an eligible country (see list above). In addition, the director must have citizenship from, or be resident in, an eligible country. Moreover, the film must be shot in an eligible country
NORWEGIAN CO-PRODUCER REQUIRED
The Norwegian co-producer must be a private and independent production company established in Norway that is not predominantly publicly owned, nor substantially related to a broadcasting organisation. The application for production support must be sent by the Norwegian co-producer. A list of Norwegian producers can be sent upon request (contact firstname.lastname@example.org). The SØRFOND Pitching Forum in Oslo in November is a recommended place for meeting Norwegian co-producers. Participation at the Pitching Forum is by invitation only, projects selected from partnering film markets around the world will be invited to pitch. Read more here
FICTION OR DOCUMENTARIES, MINIMUM 50 MIN. RUNNING TIME
SØRFOND supports fiction films or documentaries with a minimum running time of 50 minutes, produced for screening in cinemas, on television, or on other audiovisual media platforms.
At least 50% of the budget must already be confirmed at the time of submitting the application.
MAXIMUM SUPPORT NOK 1 MILLION
The grant shall not exceed NOK 1 million (approximately € 102 000). Up to 10% of the grant amount may be retained by the minority production company in order to cover its administrative costs.
ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION
The assessment and selection of the applications shall be based on an overall assessment of artistic, production-related, economical and technical aspects of the project. Particular emphasis is placed on the purpose of SØRFOND and the project’s cultural identity, including the use of local languages and local shooting locations. Emphasis is also placed on the director’s and the producers’ experience, as well as the representation of women in key positions.
A panel consisting of three to five members appointed by the Norwegian Film Institute processes the applications and nominates candidates to the Norwegian Film Institute, which holds the decision-making power. At least one member from one of the eligible applicant-countries, and one member from the Sørfond-team will be represented in the panel.
The incoming applications might be screened through a pre-selection before presented to the jury. This pre-selection process will consider the track-record of the director and the main producer. Furthermore, the pre-selection will consider the project's relevence to Sørfond's overall objective (§2 in the guidelines), and in doing so the applicant country's ranking on the DAC-list (Least Developed Country – Upper Middle Income Countries and Territories) and Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World-report will be relevant. Projects that have participated in the Sørfond Pitching Forum will automatically pass through the pre-selection process.
With support from Creative Europe's MEDIA-programme, 5 films was supported through one round of grants from Sørfond+ in 2017. Currently SØRFOND+ is closed for applications, but we hope to re-launch the scheme in 2020.
For SØRFOND+ largely the same criteria as for SØRFOND applies, but you do not need a Norweian co-producer. In stead you can apply SØRFOND+ with any European co-producer from a country participating in the MEDIA-sub-programme of Creative Europe.
EVALUATION OF SØRFOND
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs finalized an evaluation report of SØRFOND in August 2015. The research has been conducted by Telemarksforskning and you can download the report in english here or a norwegian version here.