New boost for Balkan film industry

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival has launched a new initiative which will allow it to play a central role in the film industries of the Balkan region. The recently established Balkan Fund will allow the festival to invest in new screenplays and support the production of a specific number of films from the Balkans each year, participating in the cost of the entire production procedure, from writing and shooting to projection at the annual film festival. The fund is aimed at all Balkan filmmakers making fictional feature-length films set in the region and follows the model established by similar festivals such as Rotterdam and Gothenburg. Emphasis will be placed on the screenplays which present a historical and cultural profile of the country in which they are set, together with a complete and realistic production plan. Financial assistance will be given once a year to four or five films (one of which will be a Greek production), while the maximum amount of money to be given is 10,000 euros. Screenplays will be submitted to a panel of experts who will assess the quality of the work before narrowing the number of entrants down to 12 for the final selection. The panel will be composed of people working in film at an international level and its decisions will be announced during the Thessaloniki International Film Festival which takes place annually in early November. Furthermore, the festival has also organized a series of three-day workshops during which all of the screenplays being submitted to the Balkan Fund will be analyzed.