Hivos initiates fund for Central American and Cuban films

June 2004 -

Hivos has taken the initiative to establish a film fund for Central American and Cuban film productions. The fund is called Cinergia and is directed by Fundacine in Costa Rica.

Paul van Paaschen is Hivos' senior staff member for art and culture. According to him, Central American film makers in particular have trouble accessing film funds, including the Hubert Bals Fund. Van Paaschen: 'That is because of the quality of the requests. In the past we have actually supported film productions, but the quality was not satisfactory. This fund wants to support film makers during the pre-production process: compiling a budget proposal and exact planning; making sure the request is well-founded. At the same time, the fund must play a stimulating part in the entire Central American film sector, by organising script workshops, for example.'

Cinergia does not operate directly under the Hivos flag, but under that of Fundacine, a cinematographic organisation in Costa Rica that Hivos invited to write a proposal for the setup of the project. Hivos wants professional productions, 'meaning they must be directed by people who understand film,' says Van Paaschen. Preferably people from the region itself.

Hivos got the American Ford Foundation to contribute. They have 220,000 dollars for the next two years. 'Then', says Van Paaschen, 'we will see whether it is useful to continue. For the time being, it is an experiment. Hopefully this is the first step towards finding a solution to the difficult development of the film sector in Central America. Cooperation with Cuba, itself extremely experienced in the area of film making, including in the areas of training and co-production, could be greatly stimulating.'