A still from the movie ‘Qissa’

Indian film Qissa will open the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam on January 22, 2014. Indian filmmaker Anup Singh’s Indo-German drama film has been chosen as the opening film to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) of the IFFR 2014.

Qissa received the Hubert Bals Fund for Script & Project Development in 2004 and was co-produced by Augustus Film, a Dutch company. To make the film, Anup Singh also got support from the Netherlands Film Fund.

Set in 1947, the film Qissa is about a father’s passionate desire for a male heir, causing him deep suffering within the community. The story revolves around Umber Singh, a Sikh, who loses everything during the separation of India in 1947 and is forced to leave his homeland. He obsessively wishes for a male heir. When his fourth daughter is born, he decides to raise her as a boy Kanwar Singh. However, eventually Kanwar Singh is married to a girl, Neeli, which gives birth to complications.

“In spite of its rich and exuberant narrative style, the film at all times maintains the human scale of the suffering it depicts.  The production was supported by the Hubert Bals Fund from the very earliest stage. This is a great example of the power of the Fund to help filmmakers from countries where making an independent feature film is by no means a matter of course. Financial support at crucial times in the production process can act as a catalyst for international recognition,” said Mart Dominicus, artistic director of International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Other Indian film projects supported by the HBF include Amit Dutta’s The Room on a Tree, Bikas Mishra’s Wild Fire, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court and Gurvinder Singh’s The Fourth Direction.