The Connecting Cultures Program supports thousands of underprivileged filmmakers each year in their challenging journeys as independent filmmakers. Surpassing financial embargoes and crushing censorship.
One of our feature programs is the Connecting Cultures Program. As we, at The Bigger Screen, strive to connect people and cultures, this is where our focus is. Each year, filmmakers from at least ten countries are invited to submit their film to our program for free. When selected by the Connecting Cultures Program, a filmmaker will then receive the option to submit their work to a range of partner festivals all over the world, completely free of charge. This opens the door of film exposure to those who may not otherwise be able to enter.
The current 2023-2024 program allows filmmakers from the following countries to submit their work free of charge: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Founded in 2021 by filmmaker/entrepreneur Kris De Meester, the program immediately proved its necessity. In the first year of this program a total number of 4,750 films were submitted. In the second year this number more than doubled to over 10,000 submitted films. Based on the average value of a submissions fee, the Connecting Cultures Program generated a financial support of 147,500 USD for the first two years.
The Connecting Cultures Program is supported by major film festivals from all over the world.
Selected filmmakers will receive The Tarkovski Grant, a FilmFreeway submission fee waiver package that's worth at least 500 USD and grants them free submission access to 10+ film festivals. The current festival partners include iconic festivals such as the Brussels Independent Film Festival, Boston Short Film Festival, Venice Film Week, Super Shorts, Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festivals… among many others.
This not only saves the filmmakers a lot of money, but it also recognizes their work as something to watch for during the selection procedure, making a selection with a partner film festival more likely - but of course, never guaranteed.
Find your stage and make yourself heard.
The Connecting Cultures Program is supported by leading film festivals from all corners of the world.
... and more coming soon
The Connecting Cultures Program is supported by The Bigger Screen.
Every year tens of thousands of films are being made worldwide. Many of these are amazing pieces with incredible messages, insight, beauty, and stories to offer society.
However, only a small percentage of these films end up having a release. Far too many of these eye-opening, enriching pieces stay unnoticed, stories go untold, and exemplary talent is overlooked. Most of this is due to high cost and inaccessibility to the filmmaker.
Because of this, our heart and soul are in The Bigger Screen, where we aim to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. We don’t want to see important pieces tucked away in the dark. And at The Bigger Screen, we work on both sides of the screen. We are behind the screen encouraging and supporting filmmakers in their quest to spread their work through grants and opportunity. We stand in front of the screen by welcoming audiences to enjoy this art form, no matter what their social or financial status is.
The Bigger Screen runs several support programs, ranging from supporting local film talent, over the Connecting Cultures Program to the Inclusive Audience Program.
The Connecting Cultures Program, a story about supporting underprivileged filmmakers, surpassing embargoes and crushing censorship.
The program started in 2021 by supporting 4,750 film submissions from 10 countries. Then the support was extended to over 10,000 film submissions from 11 countries in 2022. Our country selections are far from random. Our committee chooses locations based on humanitarian aspects, cultural needs and the financial situation of that specific region. We strive to provide support to filmmakers in these countries and allow them opportunities to share their art.
The average value of Connecting Cultures Program is about $10 per film submission, bringing the total value of support until 2023 to a whopping $147,500.
Since the start of the program the following countries received support: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Measuring this financial impact is certainly an important aspect to shining a light in the dimly lit corners of independent film production, and it should not be understated how much this opportunity should not be passed up by any up-and-coming independent filmmaker.
What cannot be measured though is the size and scope of the waves that these opportunities create. Similar to a stone skipping across a pond, these waves coexist in harmonious and even sometimes beautiful ways.
Making every intersection a new place to explore- creating infinite swells of endless creativity.
Present your work to iconic film festivals.
Imagine getting to premiere your film on the world stage, with a robust viewing audience eager to view your material and give you insightful and invaluable feedback. Or, being able to access a much better chance for more great opportunities through even more growth from unexpected and unplanned sources- simply from being exposed to a larger and more engaged audience.
The Connecting Cultures Program is a project by
The Screen Fund VZW
Torhoutse Steenweg 27 bus 0502, 8200 Sint-Andries, Belgium, European Union,
Tarkovski has ongoing projects based in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia.
The Connecting Cultures Program runs in association with The Bigger Screen, Cinematory, iFilmfestival.com, FilmFreeway, Brussels Independent Film Festival, Super Shorts Film Festival London/New York/Los Angeles, Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival, Venice Film Week, Verona International Film Festival, Doc.Berlin, Doc.Sydney, Doc.Boston, Doc.London, Bruges International Film Festival, Boston Short Film Festival, New Jersey Independent Film Festival, Toronto Arthouse Film Festival, Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, Obskuur Ghent Film Festival, Somerville International Film Festival, Toronto Film Week.