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Karlovy Vary Eastern Promises Winners Include ‘I’m Not Everything I Want to Be’ and ‘Flight From Kabul’



The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Eastern Promises industry section and film market handed out its awards Tuesday evening.

Klára Tasovská’s I’m Not Everything I Want to Beabout a female photographer on a journey towards freedom after the Soviet invasion of Prague, and Assel Aushakimova’s Bike Chess, which explores government influence and journalistic ethics, won key Works in Progress honors. Sahraa Karimi’s Flight from Kabulabout a woman in Afghanistan who must decide between the love of her life and her nieces’ future when the Taliban seizes Kabul, received the Works in Development Award.

KVIFF Eastern Promises describes its mission as “bridging the gap between talented filmmakers and their potential partners, festivals and audiences.” The awards are open for producers and directors from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa introducing new films that will premiere after the Karlovy Vary festival.

This year, 27 projects competed for awards with a total value of 115,000 euros ($125,000) in three programs: Works in Progress, Works in Development – ​​Feature Launch and First Cut+.

“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,” said Hugo Rosák, the head of the KVIFF Film Industry Office.

The complete winners list is below.

Works in Progress

Each winner gets a cash prize of 5,000 euros ($5,445).

Works in Progress Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Award

Bike Chess (Kazakhstan, France, Norway), directed by Assel Aushakimova and produced by Antoine Simkine, Almagul Tleukhanova, and Christian Fredrik Martin.
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 Progress Post-Production Development Award

I Am Not Everything I Want to Be (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria), directed by Klára Tasovská and produced by Lukáš Kokeš.
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

Tasty (Lithuania, Estonia), directed by Egle Vertelyte and produced by Lukas Trimonis.
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 Development – ​​Feature Launch

The winner of the first award gets a cash prize of 10,000 euros ($10,890).

Works in Development Award

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 rarely 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

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

Tomáš Pertoldproducer of the film God Break Down the Door (Czech Republic).
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

TRT First Cut+ Award

The award comes with a cash prize of 5,000 euros ($5,445).

Allen Sunshine (Canada, USA), directed by Harley Chamandy and produced by Chantal Chamandy.
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.”

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