Film is one of today’s most important cultural expressions. Film, as an art form and as cultural expression, combines in a unique way other art forms such as music, drama and moving images. Movies are, at one and the same time, entertainment, an independent artistic expression, and a medium reflecting both our past and our future. Film is also about identity, community, freedom of expression and sense of belonging.
The Norwegian Film Institute and the Films from the South Foundation have 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
NOK 2.66 million (approximately € 275.000 ) will be handed out as production grants in 2019 through an inter-departmental cooperation between The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Norwegian Ministry of Culture. The Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) and the Films from the South Foundation (FFS) is jointly in charge of the administration of the fund.
The grant shall contribute to strengthen film as a cultural expression, to promote diversity and artistic integrity on the international film scene, and to strengthen freedom of expression. The grant shall also contribute to an increased cooperation between Norwegian and international film industries. The purpose of SØRFOND grants is to stimulate the production of films in developing countries where such production is limited by political or economic causes.
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 email@example.com). 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 € 130 000). 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.
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.