Innovative, diverse and personal stories won the awards of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Eastern Promises industry program on Monday, taking honors in three sections focused on emerging filmmakers in both narrative and docu genres.
Karlovy Vary industry head Hugo Rosak said the decision by Eastern Promises to allow fiction and non-fiction films to compete alongside each other – a new approach that parallels the fest’s newly reformatted main competition category – is based on the premise that “both categories, despite their differences, possess the same artistic value.”
Jurors from a host of film biz and development organizations gave the Works in Progress Post-Production Development Award, which funds services at Prague’s UPP post house and Soundsquare studio to Iranian-French film “An Owl, a Garden and the Writer,” directed by Sara Dolatabadi, and produced by Dolatabadi, Amir Naderi and Farhad Mohammadi.
The film focuses on the “poetic revelation of one of Iran’s most prominent writers,” Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, as his daughter records his imaginary world, “blurring the lines of perceived reality for the audience,” while exploring the secret garden of his life as a novelist and solitary routine.
The Works in Progress TRT award went to Slovak-Czech-German film “Victim,” directed by Michal Blasko, and produced by Jakub Viktorin, and Pavla Janouskova Kubeckova, with 5,000 euros from TRT Cinema awarded to the project.
The film’s story of a reckoning following race baiting in a small Czech town was praised for its attentive approach to a mother-son relationship “in a strong social context” with the “artistic quality of the scenes and long, bold shots.”
The Works in Progress Karlovy Vary IFF award and 5,000 euro prize went to Georgian-German film “Tina & Megi,” directed by Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze, and produced by Eva Blondiau, the story of a woman in Tbilisi facing sexist repression, called by the jury a timely piece by “a new and fresh voice showing and encouraging the fight of young women who ‘learn to fly’ despite a society that allows them no time or freedom to develop their own choices in life.”
The Works in Development – Feature Launch award, co-sponsored by the Karlovy Vary fest and the Midpoint script and project development program, and the When East Meets West co-production market and Trieste Film Festival, went to Czech film “Head Nurse” by Jan Vejnar, produced by Kamila Dohnalova. The chronicle of the commanding role of medical professional Hana in a regional hospital won the honor and a 10,000 euro prize for further development.
The Connecting Cottbus award went to “The Bomber,” a Latvian work directed by Pauls Kesteris and written by Gatis Murnieks, which tells the story of a woman’s revelation of her father’s role in a disastrous act of rebellion.
Aleksandra Aleksander, producer of the Israeli-Russian-Polish film “Aliya,” won the Rotterdam Lab Award and access to a training program during the IFFR Pro Days 2022, aimed at helping emerging professionals for her “multifaceted industry experience.”
The First Cut+ program, launched in 2020 to boost the competitiveness and marketability of feature films that participated in the First Cut Lab, honored two films: Poland’s “The Hatcher,” an unconventional prisoner story directed by Grzegorz Mołda and produced by Izabela Igel, won the First Cut+ award and the Sub-Ti prize with subtitling services. “A Piece of Sky,” a challenging Swiss-German love story by Michael Koch, produced by Christof Neracher, won the TRT award and 5,000 euros.