Karlovy Vary: ‘Pigeon’s Milk,’ ‘The Silhouettes’ Win Works-in-Progress Prizes

'Pigeon’s Milk,' 'The Silhouettes' Win Karlovy Vary Prizes
Courtesy of Milan Chrdlemilanovi/Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

Moldovan director Eugen Marian’s debut feature film project “Pigeon’s Milk,” and Iranian filmmaker Afsaneh Salari’s documentary project “The Silhouettes” picked up Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival’s Works in Progress prizes Tuesday.

In “Pigeon’s Milk,” a teenager in a remote Moldovan village plans to run away with a friend, but as he plots his revenge against the people who have wronged him, the escape plot threatens to go awry. Roman Borisevich, Alexander Kushaev and Anna Shalashina of Russia’s Koktebel Film Company are producing.

The jury commented: “With strong cinematic language, this first-time filmmaker offers a visual and harmonious world through a story with resonance, announcing a unique voice from a country we do not see much cinema from.”

“The Silhouettes” centers on Taghi, an engineering student in Iran whose parents fled war-torn Afghanistan. As Afghans are only allowed to have manual-labor jobs in Iran, Taghi plans to move to the motherland he never knew. He faces strong opposition from his parents, who fear for his safety. The film is produced by Salari and Jewel Maranan, who is based in the Philippines.

The jury said Salari had “a clear vision, style and sensibility,” and added, “she is capable and willing to invite us to a world that we can all understand and feel.”

The Works in Progress competitions – part of the festival’s industry section, KVIFF Eastern Promises – focus on projects from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and North Africa.

KVIFF Eastern Promises also revealed the winners of the Eurimages Lab Project prize, Works in Development – Feature Launch Award, and the Nespresso Talents contest.

The Eurimages Lab Project prize went to “Bottled Songs,” directed by Kevin B. Lee and Chloe Galibert-Laine. The jury praised the “courageous” documentary for “raising questions of privacy and identity by exploring online propaganda of the Islamic State.”

Hungarian project “Some Birds,” from director Daniel Hever, writer Zsanett Kertesz and producer Laszlo Dreissiger, won the Works in Development – Feature Launch Award. The jury said the film told a story about two people “who are trying to find a place in the world, creating a special bond that transcends generations.”

The Nespresso Talents award winners were Nina Ovsova and Adela Krizovenska for their animated film “Tell Me Your Flavour.” Second place went to another animated film, “Hunger” by Jachym Bouzek, and to David Bukva for “We Are What We Eat.”

Pictured: Docs in Progress jury members Pierre-Alexis Chevit, Lejla Dedic and Patricia Drati Ronde with “The Silhouettes” director and writer Afsaneh Salari and director’s assistant Hoda Siahtiri.