“Wild Roots,” a drama about a lonely, ex-con bouncer who is reunited with his wild child daughter, has won the Works in Progress Award at Eastern Promises, Karlovy Vary Film Festival‘s industry section.
In the debut feature from director Hajni Kis, the two outsiders bond, but the father’s vehement nature and a family secret stand between them. The Hungary-Slovak Republic coproduction will receive a cash prize of Euros 10,000 ($11,300).
The jury described the film, produced by Júlia Berkes and Balázs Zachar, as “visually compelling,” and displaying a “distinct directing style and promising talent.” It added the director displays a “skilful ability to engage both professional and nonprofessional actors,” and delivers a “profoundly moving and intriguing story.”
The jury included Gabor Greiner, COO of Films Boutique, Faruk Güven, head of co-productions at Turkish Radio and TV Corporation, and Vanja Kaludjerčić, festival director at Rotterdam Film Festival.
Works in Progress included eight projects from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and North Africa. An additional eight projects were contributed through the First Cut+ program, which is for projects from Central and Eastern Europe.
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The Works in Progress Post-Production Development Award went to “The Alleys,” which centers on of a gossip-ridden, violent neighborhood.
At the film’s heart is a charming hustler pretending to be a white-collar career man, who is secretly involved in a relationship with an innocent and playful young woman, but their romance is caught on camera by an extortionist and the embarrassing video is sent to her mother.
Hoping to avoid public embarrassment, the mother discreetly convinces a gangster to put a stop to it all… but things don’t go according to plan and all of their lives collide not just with each other, but with others in the neighborhood.
The film, a Jordan-Qatar-France-Saudi Arabia coproduction, is directed by Bassel Ghandour and produced by Rula Nasser.
The jury was composed of Ivo Marák, head of film and TV services department at UPP, Karel Och, artistic director at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and Michaela Patríková, a sound designer at Soundsquare.
The jury said the film is a “captivating tale in which the writer-director uses genre film elements to deliver an intriguing look into a society driven by violence.”
The Eurimages Lab Project Award, which came with a prize worth Euros 50,000 ($56,500), went to “Atlantide.” The Italy-France coproduction, directed by Yuri Ancarani and produced by Marco Alessi, is set in Venice, but not the city tourists know.
This is a parallel world where teenagers pimp out their motorboats, customizing them with dazzling LED lights and powerful stereo systems, and souping up their engines to a stunning horsepower so they can race across the Lagoon.
The film follows a group of teen boys as they party on a deserted island, and then challenge each other in dangerous illegal races to win girls’ hearts, without lights to avoid the police.
The jury, composed of Eurimages’ Els Hendrix, Mark Peranson, the Berlinale’s head of programming, and filmmaker Adina Pintilie, said the project “brings an unsettling yet fascinating vision of a dying world.”
It added: “Using the metaphor of Atlantis, the director’s singular gaze brilliantly synchronizes the perspective of teenagers with the sad perspective of a vanishing city. Nevertheless, like contemporary Noah’s Arks, the motorboats race across the Venetian lagoon, driven by the energy of youth, in a life-affirming view of a possible future.”
Other prizes were as follows:
FIRST CUT+ AWARD
“Deskmate” (Turkey/Romania), directed by Ferit Karahan, produced by Kanat Dogramaci of Asteros Film.
DOCS IN PROGRESS AWARD
“The Lines” (Slovak Republic), directed by Barbora Sliepková and produced by Barbara Janišová Feglová.
WORKS IN DEVELOPMENT – FEATURE LAUNCH AWARDS
“Usud” (Serbia), directed by Stefan Malešević, and produced by Andrijana Sofranić Šućur.
Special Mention: “Sara’s Bungalow” (Poland), directed by Julia Rogowska, produced by Krystyna Kantor and written by Małgorzata Piłacińska.
CONNECTING COTTBUS AWARD
“Vacuum” (Ukraine), directed and written by Yelizaveta Smith and produced by Aleksandra Kostina.
ROTTERDAM LAB AWARD
Andrijana Sofranić Šućur, the producer of the film “Usud” (Serbia).