Big Father Gets Big Backing

Vietnamese director PHAN Đăng Di is among the recipients of Germamy’s World Cinema Fund, receiving €40,000 (US$51,900) in production financing, for his long-gestating project Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories.

Phan (pictured) made his directorial debut with Don’t Be Afraid, Bi! Bi, đừng sợ! (2010), which premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week. He also wrote the script of Adrift Chơi vơi (2009), which premiered in Venice’s Orizzonti section.

Big Father is inspired by a newspaper report that the director read in 1997 about young unemployed people during the Asian financial crisis taking money to be sterilised. Phan has been developing the story for 16 years.

The film adaptation tells the stories of the residents of a slum apartment in late 1990s Saigon, include a photography student, a pimp, a street singer and a precinct birth control coordinator who is offering vasectomies for cash.

When announced at the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) 香港亞洲電影投資會 in 2011, the project had a budget of US$1 million, having secured US$120,000, including US$50,000 from co-producers VBlock Media Joint Stock Company.

The film is produced by Paolo BERTOLIN and NGUYEN Hoang Diep who is currently developing her own directorial debut, Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere Đập cánh giữa không trung. Last year, Flapping received €50,000 (US$64,900) from the World Cinema Fund.

Newly-boarded producers are TRẦN THỊ Bích Ngọc, whose production credits at Galaxy Studio JSC include Scandal Scandal: Bí mật thảm đỏ (2012) and The Lady Assassin Mỹ nhân kế, and Claire LAJOUMARD, who also worked on Adrift.

Big Father is among four projects that shared €150,000 or production funding in this year’s World Cinema Fund round. The other projects originate from Argentina (€50,000), Venezuela (€30,000) and Lebanon (€30,000).

The fund, which has supported 111 projects since 2004, is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin International Film Festival. There were 130 submissions this year from 48 countries.