Authenticity, Relevance, EntertainmentHelping to get the good stories made.

The First Hand Fund is a brand by First Hand Films, to invest in non-fiction projects either as seed financing or gap money. The Fund does not have a lot of rich people behind it, it was created by Hansjürgen Schmölzer from BSX Austria and Esther van Messel from First Hand Films Switzerland. We want to be more involved in production earlier and are prepared to invest in that.

Our first support is made for THE RIVER BETWEEN US, a Carl Gierstorfer film and a Docday Production by Antje Boehmert. Our investment enabled the film to hire Sam Slater for the composition of the score.

Another film supported by us is A GUIDE TO GENTRIFICATION by Keren Shayo and Lavi Vanunu, co-written and produced by Osnat Trabelsi for Trabelsi Productions in Tel Aviv – Jaffa. The film was made out of a TV series we saw and loved, and believed should be seen more widely.

Occasionally, we hand out Awards for Most Promising Project, in Trieste in 2020 to EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY (IDFA and many other festivals) and in 2021 to RECONCILIATION (premiering at many festivals). In 2022, we added a prize award to the distribution offer the First Hand Fund Award entails, and highlighted ATONAL GLOW our of Georgia, about a piano wunderkind.


In 2023, with First Hand Films turning 25 years, we published the First Hand Fund Diversity Call for €25’000. The Award goes out in cash and in kind to projects, companies or collectives. We look for well-made groundbreaking stories that disrupt and advance dialogueThe Award can be given to a company, a collective or a workshop of any format. It is intersectional, diversity-oriented and particularly encourages submissions from underrepresented and discriminated people of all genders, sexual orientations, colors, physical and psychological abilities.

Results of the call and the names of the 10 finalists will be published in the spring of 2024.