KVIFF Eastern Promises announces its award winners
- The Burdened by Amr Gamal has received the Post-production Development Award, while Windless by Pavel G Vesnakov snagged the TRT Award
As every year, KVIFF Eastern Promises has given itself the exciting mission of bridging the gap between talented filmmakers and their potential partners, festivals and audiences. A wide selection of 35 film projects were screened within the festival's three established programmes (Works in Progress, Works in Development – Feature Launch and First Cut+) as well as the Odesa IFF Works in Progress selection. This showcase was held in Karlovy Vary instead of Odesa as a gesture of goodwill and support towards the Ukrainian film industry, which is currently suffering because of the Russian invasion (see the news).
Hugo Rosák, head of the KVIFF Film Industry Office, mentioned: “This year brought us back to live pitching sessions after two years of the pandemic, and we were delighted to see the return of both our industry audience and the well-prepared creative teams to a true brick-and-mortar cinema.”
In the Works in Progress section, fiction and documentary projects were merged for another year since, despite their differences, they possess the same artistic value. In this year’s showcase, a total of ten fiction and documentary projects from countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa were presented.
The jury – which included Dennis Ruh, director of the Berlinale European Film Market; Cosima Finkbeiner, senior festival manager and sales manager at Beta Cinema; Esra Demirkiran, festival coordinator of TRT Cinema; Michaela Patríková, sound designer at Soundsquare; and Polish producer Ewa Puszczyńska – selected the dramatic feature The Burdened, directed and co-written by Amr Gamal, and produced by Mohsen Alkhalifi, Amr Gamal, Amjad Abu Alala and Mohammed Alomda, as the recipient of the Works in Progress Post-production Development Award, which consists of post-production services from UPP and Soundsquare. The jury was “impressed by the director’s brave approach to tackling this sensitive subject against all odds”.
The winner of the other gong in this section, the Works in Progress TRT Award, which offers a cash prize of €5,000, was Windless, directed and co-written by Bulgarian filmmaker Pavel G Vesnakov, and produced by Veselka Kiryakova, Alessandro Amato and Luigi Chimienti (see the news). The jury gave it the award for “its strong artistic vision, mature directing and meditative way of storytelling, which creates a mirror for the viewer”.
For the Works in Progress Karlovy Vary IFF Award, which is also accompanied by a €5,000 cash prize offered by KVIFF, the jury picked Endless Summer Syndrome, directed by Kaveh Daneshmand, and produced by Gem Deger, Eva Larvoire, Cédric Larvoire and Kaveh Daneshmand, as “the film pushes the boundaries of modern society and questions family love, and the jury believes in the film’s audience potential”. Furthermore, the jury handed a Special Mention to the documentary The Visitors [+see also:
film profile], directed by Veronika Lišková and produced by Kristýna Michálek Květová, “as it touches on the subject of immigration in a very unconventional and intriguing way. We consider the movie to be fully accomplished and have no doubt that, quite soon, the finished film will travel the festival circuit.”
In support of Ukrainian filmmakers and festival organisers, this year's KVIFF hosted the Works in Progress programme of the 13th Odesa International Film Festival, which cannot be held there because of the ongoing war. Eight full-length film projects in the final stage of shooting or in post-production, produced in Ukraine or in co-production with Ukraine, and selected by the OIFF selection committee, were presented by their creators.
The jury included Pavlína Žipková, head of the Czech Film Commission; Petr Tichý, CEO of Barrandov Studio; Simone Baumann, managing director of German Films; Barbora Struss, Head of MIDPOINT; and Alessandro Gropplero, managing director of When East Meets West. They picked U Are the Universe, directed by Pavlo Ostrikov, and produced by Volodymyr Yatsenko and Anna Yatsenko, as the winning project worthy of the cash prize of €10,000, courtesy of Barrandov Studio. “The jury feels great potential in the whole project and also appreciated the author's statement, in which it defines the character of the film exactly while also attracting potential viewers to see it. If there is one certainty in the world, it is realising ‘how important it is to find someone who understands you’, and that's something that no jury is going to dispute at all.”
Here is the list of KVIFF Eastern Promises Works in Progress award winners:
Works in Progress Post-production Development Award
The Burdened – Amr Gamal (Yemen/Sudan)
Works in Progress TRT Award
Windless – Pavel G Vesnakov (Bulgaria/Italy)
Works in Progress Karlovy Vary IFF Award
Endless Summer Syndrome – Kaveh Daneshmand (Turkey/France)
Odesa International Film Festival Work in Progress Award
U Are the Universe – Pavlo Ostrikov (Ukraine)
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