IDFA Bertha Fund for Filmmakers in Developing Countries 2019 – Amsterdam

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The IDFA Bertha Fund, formerly known as the Jan Vrijman Fund, supports documentary filmmakers in developing countries. Its goal is to stimulate local film cultures and to turn the creative documentary into a truly global film art.

Application Deadlines: 

  • IBF Classic – Development10th December 2018, 10th June 2019 
  • IBF Classic – Production & Post-production10th December 2018, 10th June 2019 
  • IBF Europe – Co-Production1st April 2019 

No changes concerning the deadline will be made for the category IBF Europe – Distribution of International Co-Productions, and will thus be continuously open for applications from December 1, 2018 until October 1, 2019. 

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Eligible Countries: Developing countries

To be taken at (country): Amsterdam, Netherlands

About the Award: The IDFA Bertha Fund supports documentary filmmakers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe (see IBF Classic Country List) by offering them financial contributions, assistance and coaching to complete their projects. The Fund is looking for creative documentaries that use strong visual treatments to tell compelling stories and have the potential to reach a global audience.

Projects can be submitted in two categories:

  • Project development: The maximum contribution for project development is €5,000, which must be spent in a country on the IBF Classic Country List.
  • Production & post-production: The maximum contribution for production & post-production is €17,500, which must be spent in a country on the IBF Classic Country List.

Type: Contest, Grants

Eligibility: Documentary projects can be submitted for two categories: Project Development or Production & Post-Production. The application has to be submitted by a director or producer from a country on the DAC-list. The core rule of the fund is that the director of the project should have the nationality of a DAC- country and live and work in this country.

  • The director of the project should have the nationality of a country as defined on the IBF Classic Country List and should live and work in this country. The IBF Classic Country list is based on the most recent DAC-list.
  • In addition, the main producer attached to the project must be based in a country on the IBF Classic Country List.
  • Before continuing, please confirm your country is on the IBF Classic Country list.
  • In case a co-producer from Europe, North America or Australia is attached to the project, this cannot be the main producer of the project. The application to the Fund must be filed by the main producer from the IBF Classic Country List and the application should be accompanied with a deal memo or co-production agreement which needs to contain detailed provisions on the following aspects: the participation of each co-producer in the financing of the project; joint ownership of all the rights; sharing of the revenues between the co-producers.
  • If a project is selected, the contribution must be spent in a country on the IBF Classic Country List. A project can be submitted only once for each category. A project can be submitted for Project Development and at a later deadline for Production or Post-Production, whether or not the Project Development submission was successful.

Submission requirements:

  • Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. Completed applications must be in our office on the day of the deadline.
  • Entry forms must be filled out in English. Only for applications coming from French-speaking African countries and Haiti, the Fund offers the possibility to submit the entry form in French. See: IBF Classic information and regulations in French.
  • Production applications will only be accepted when accompanied by a trailer, demo, edited sequence or other audio-visual material of the project with a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes.
  • Projects that have finished the shooting phase will be considered as Post-Production applications. In this case applications have to be accompanied by an edited sequence or a selection of the rough cut of around 20 minutes.
  • In case your material is longer than 20 minutes, please indicate which part we need to watch or make a selection of 20 minutes which you think is most representative and/or complementary to the end result.
  • Project Development applications will only be accepted when accompanied by visual material of the project. If available, a trailer or selected research material from the project is recommended if representative of the style. If no audiovisual material is available, photos or a visual presentation can also be presented through a Vimeo or YouTube link.
  • Project Development applications should also be accompanied by one previous work, preferably representative for the style of the filmmaker. This previous/additional film, although required for the jury’s selection process, is viewed only if necessary in making decisions regarding the selection process.
  • All applications have the possibility to submit a short video by the director introducing him/herself and explaining his/her motivation to the project instead of writing this down. If you prefer to make use of this possibility, the link can be pasted in the entry form.
  • Vimeo or YouTube links must be in our office on the day of the deadline. The material must be in English or have English subtitles. Links should remain online for at least two months following the deadline. If possible, please allow for free viewing of the material (no password required) or make sure you send us the password.

Only projects that have been submitted according to the IDFA Bertha Fund regulations will be considered.

Selection Criteria: Project’s originality, cinematic quality and market potential.

Selection Process: In assessing projects the fund will consider (1) the strength and originality of the treatment, (2) the originality and urgency of the story, (3) the vision and ability of the director and (4) the financial feasibility of the project.

Please note that fund is very competitive and can only select around 5 % of applications received.

All applications that are complete will be considered for selection. After a first selection round the fund will make a pre-selection. The filmmakers of the pre-selected projects will receive a more extensive application form. Within two months after the deadline the Fund will inform applicants of the selection results.

Number of Awardees: Not specified

Value of Programme: 

  • Project development: The maximum contribution for project development is €5,000. A contribution for project development can be spent on research and on the development of a script and/or on the production of a trailer. It must be spent in a developing country.
  • Production & post-production: The maximum contribution for production & post-production is €17,500. A contribution for production & post-production can be spent on all forms of production & post-production, but it must be spent in a developing country.

 Each year, also the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) screens a large part of the year’s harvest of completed films supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund. These may be selected in Competition or in the sections Panorama, Masters or Best of Fests. And every year the Fund works with numerous international film festivals, including Cannes, Berlinale, Thessaloniki, Locarno, Toronto and Pusan, to screen the films that have received IDFA Bertha Fund support.

How to Apply: Submit your project via links below


Visit Programme Webpage for details

Award Provider: The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

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