News Winners of KVIFF Eastern Promises 2023

Published: July 05, 2023| 09:25 AM

Works in Progress, Works in Development – Feature Launch, First Cut+ Works in Progress

KVIFF Eastern Promises, the festival's Industry section and film market, has the exciting mission of bridging the gap between talented filmmakers and their potential partners, festivals and audiences. “Just like every year, we’ve tried to curate a nice mix of projects from around the regions, a solid mix of documentary and feature films, and we now hope that they’ll be able to find new partners to complete their films and start on the festival circuit." Hugo Rosák, the Head of the KVIFF Film Industry Office, commented. 

A total of 27 film projects were screened within the festival's three established programs: Works in Progress, Works in Development – Feature Launch, and First Cut+, competing for awards with a total value of 115,000 EUR. The winners of this year’s selection are:

Works in Progress


Esra Demirkiran, Festival Coordinator, TRT Sinema

Petr Tichý, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Baranov Studio

Oscar Alonso, Festival Manager, Latido Films

Nadia Ben Rachid, Film Editor

Agustina Chiarino, Producer, Bocacha Films

Works i Progress encompasses both fiction and documentary films under one program, as both of these categories, despite their differences, possess the same artistic value. In this year’s showcase, a total of eleven feature and documentary projects from countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa were presented.

Works in Progress Post-production Development Award

The jury has chosen the film I’m Not Everything I Want to Be (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria) directed by Klára Tasovská and produced by Lukáš Kokeš. The award consists of post-production services in UPP and Soundsquare.

Jury statement:

The jury finds this project about personal freedom exciting, since all the story elements from the past resonate today and can definitely inspire everyone.

Works in Progress TRT Award

The jury has chosen the film Tasty (Lithuania, Estonia), directed by Egle Vertelyte and produced by Lukas Trimonis. A cash prize of 5,000 EUR, sponsored by TRT Sinema, will be awarded to the project.

Jury statement:

For conveying in a culinary comedy a critical approach to today’s world, which praises the exaggerated packaging in daily life and social media, and presenting true friendship as the most delicious dish.

Works in Progress Karlovy Vary IFF Award

The jury has chosen the film Bikechess (Kazakhstan, France, Norway), directed by Assel Aushakimova and produced by Antoine Simkine, Almagul Tleukhanova, and Christian Fredrik Martin as the winning project. The project will receive a cash prize of 5,000 EUR, sponsored by Barrandov Studio.

Jury statement: 

Pointing out through comedic eyes the absurdity to which the state can go to hide deeper issues, the jury truly appreciates the director’s fresh look at the ethics of journalism.

Works in Development – Feature Launch

Works in Development Award Jury:

Danijel Hočevar, Producer at Vertigo, Producer Mentor at MIDPOINT Feature Launch

Joseph Fahim, Film Critic, Programmer, Lecturer

Simone Baumann, Producer, Managing Director of German Films

For this award, KVIFF has partnered with the MIDPOINT script and project development program, the When East Meets West co-production market and Trieste Film Festival. Together they have showcased eight projects that have gone through development and mentoring within the Feature Launch program.

The jury has decided to award the 10,000 EUR cash prize for further development, jointly sponsored by MIDPOINT, Barrandov Studio and KVIFF, to Flight from Kabul (Slovakia), directed and written by Sahraa Karimi and produced by Wanda Adamík Hrycová.

Jury statement:

For its bold vision, political audaciousness and enterprising storytelling, the Works in Development Award goes to a project that explores a people and place seldom seen on screen; ones that have been let down by Western politicians who stood idle as the powers of darkness ventured to ravage it in front of the apathetic, complacent eyes of the world.

Connecting Cottbus Award

The jury, consisting of Marjorie Bendeck and Katharina Stumm, has decided to give the award to the film Excavators (Cyprus), directed and written by Argyro Nicolaou and produced by Constantinos Nikiforou and Minos Papas. The project will be granted the opportunity to pitch at Connecting Cottbus, the East-West co-production market during the Film Festival Cottbus.

Jury statement:

A fascinating story about intergenerational trauma and the ways in which we respond to the wounds of the past.

Rotterdam Lab Award

The juror Facundo Lema has chosen Tomáš Pertold, producer of the film God Break Down the Door (Czech Republic) as the winner. The winner will participate in the Rotterdam Lab professional training program for producers, which takes place during the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Jury statement:

Not only is it about an original premise, a cohesive and well-constructed project and an attractive story; this is also the approach to filmmaking that we want to support. A strong, bonded team that includes the precise definition of an emerging, young and ambitious producer. The freshness, the powerful and genuine intentions, as well as a very promising career ahead make Tomáš Pertold the most suitable person to join us in January for the upcoming edition of the Rotterdam Lab 2024.

First Cut+ Works in Progress


Francesca Tiberi, Sales & Acquisitions Manager, True Colours

Marge Liiske, CEO Baltic Event, Head of Industry Tallin Black Nights Film Festival

Esra Demirkiran, Festival Coordinator, TRT Sinema

First Cut+ is a programme created for boosting the competitiveness and marketability of feature films that previously participated in First Cut Lab. The programme was launched in 2020 through close cooperation with two dynamic and well-established film industry platforms: Trieste’s When East Meets West and Karlovy Vary IFF’s Eastern Promises Industry Days. Each year, it promotes a portfolio of 16 fiction feature films at the stage of post-production – eight of which were presented here in Karlovy Vary.

TRT First Cut+ Award

The jury has chosen the film Allen Sunshine (Canada, USA), directed by Harley Chamandy and produced by Chantal Chamandy as the winning project. A cash prize of 5,000 EUR from TRT Sinema will be awarded to the project.

Jury statement:

For an exceptional cinematic effort crafted by a remarkably talented emerging filmmaker, showcasing a sensitive portrayal of genuine friendship, the journey towards solitude following loss, and developing a minimalist yet deeply impactful approach to storytelling and cinematography.

KVIFF Eastern Promises, Karlovy Vary IFF's industry platform, strives to help discover promising talent from the regions of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, revealing it to over 1,300 distributors, sales agents, producers and festival programmers who attend the festival each year. Both European and non-European local distributors and major international sales reps rely on Karlovy Vary when searching for new movies. International sales companies introduce their films to both distributors and journalists from around the world. The Industry Days programme comprises a number of workshops, panels and presentations or networking opportunities. The primary focus on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East makes it possible for key European and American industry players to discover fresh new projects in various stages of development and production.

More about the KVIFF Eastern Promises mission and activities can be found here.

More information on the awarded Eastern Promises projects

(Further details are also available in the Book of Projects)


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