Usud wins the MIDPOINT Feature Launch Award
- Vacuum and Sara's Bungalow also received prizes as this year’s edition of the training and networking platform wrapped during KVIFF Eastern Promises
Despite the limitations imposed due to the pandemic, the MIDPOINT Feature Launch programme wrapped this year’s edition, as is the case every year, during the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Eastern Promises Industry Days, which was held entirely online from 6-8 July. A total of 22 participants representing nine projects (see the news) from Central and Eastern Europe, along with three script-consultant trainees, attended the online workshop and pitched their projects to industry professionals. The session concluded with the handing out of the awards.
Starting with the main KVIFF & MIDPOINT Development Award, this was bestowed upon the Serbian project Usud, the sophomore film written and directed by Stefan Malešević, and produced by Andrijana Sofranic Sucur for Belgrade-based NANA 143, in co-production with Set Sail Films. The pair also collaborated on Malešević’s debut feature, Mamonga [+see also:
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film profile], which had its world premiere last year in KVIFF’s East of the West Competition. The prize is worth €10,000, and the members of the jury (producer and MIDPOINT Feature Launch head of studies Danijel Hocevar, head of industry at Meeting Point – Vilnius Alessandra Pastore, and film critic and programmer Joseph Fahim) mentioned that the award goes “to an ambitious project of formal and thematic uniqueness; a comical, philosophical meditation on destiny, choice and the burden of being a human in an indifferent world. Brilliant in its conception and precise in its structuring, this highly ambitious project ventures into fresh waters rarely explored in the increasingly obvious cinema of the present.”
Usud was not limited to just one award, however, as its producer, Andrijana Sofranic Sucur, will attend the Rotterdam Lab professional training programme for producers, which will run next year during International Film Festival Rotterdam. Alessia Acone and Mirjam Klootwijk, from Rotterdam Lab, underlined: “As a strong emerging talent, Andrijana impressed us with her personal drive on the project, her engagement with an up-and-coming creative team, and her strong desire to extend her international network.”
As an exception this year, the KVIFF & MIDPOINT Development Award jury decided to give a Special Mention to the Polish project Sara's Bungalow by first-time director Julia Rogowska, written by Małgorzata Piłacińska and produced by Krystyna Kantor for Warsaw-based ShipsBoy. On their decision, the jury underlined: “This dystopian sci-fi romance is the kind of smart, urgent genre picture we seldom see in the region, and we’re confident that the team in charge will deliver an exceptional film that will soon be the talk of the festival world.”
The connecting cottbus Award, which invites the winner to a pitching session at the German co-production market, went to the Ukrainian project Vacuum, written and directed by Yelizaveta Smith, and produced by Aleksandra Kostina for Bosonfilm. Marjorie Bendeck and Katharina Stumm, from connecting cottbus, commented: “Underlined by a visual concept that is both haunting and reflective, Vacuum suggests we can discover a missing person’s identity in the empty spaces they left behind – what better medium to pursue this in than cinema?”
Attendees were also reminded that all of the participating producers are invited to the next edition of Trieste’s When East Meets West in order to have a chance to widen their networks even further, and seek financial and artistic partners during the Feature Launch Spotlight.
Here is the list of the MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2020 winners:
Sara’s Bungalow (Poland)
Writer: Małgorzata Piłacińska
Director: Julia Rogowska
Producer: Krystyna Kantor (ShipsBoy)
connecting cottbus Award
Writer/director: Yelizaveta Smith
Producer: Aleksandra Kostina (Bosonfilm)
Rotterdam Lab Award
Andrijana Sofranic Sucur - Usud
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