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KARLOVY VARY 2021 KVIFF Eastern Promises

Head Nurse wins the MIDPOINT Feature Launch Award

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- Aliya and The Bomber also received prizes as this year’s edition of the training and networking platform, which wrapped during KVIFF Eastern Promises

Head Nurse wins the MIDPOINT Feature Launch Award
Head Nurse by writer/director Jan Vejnar, winner of the KVIFF & MIDPOINT Development Award

The MIDPOINT Feature Launch programme has wrapped this year’s edition, as every year during the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Eastern Promises, which was held online. A total of 24 participants representing nine projects (see the news) from Central and Eastern Europe, along with three script-consultant trainees, attended the online workshop and pitched their projects to industry professionals on 28 July. The session concluded with the handing out of the awards.

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The main KVIFF & MIDPOINT Development Award was bestowed upon the Czech project Head Nurse, the debut feature film directed and co-written by Jan Vejnar, co-penned by Vaclav Hašek and produced by Kamila Dohnalová for Prague-based Last Films. The prize is worth €10,000, and the members of the jury (producer and MIDPOINT Feature Launch head of studies Danijel Hocevar, head of programming at Angers Film Festival – Premier Plans and film consultant at KVIFF Arnaud Gourmelen, and producer at Axman Productions, head of the production department at FAMU and vice-president of ACE Producers Karla Stojáková) mentioned that the award goes to “a project that is an unusual mix between dark reality and comedy and deals with social issues. The jury also wanted to support a director-producer duo to continue their creative journey from a successful short to the first feature, as it was clear to us even from the treatment what they wanted to achieve and how. The process of the MIDPOINT Feature Launch program really helped them bring out strong characters and their needs.”

The KVIFF & MIDPOINT Development Award jury gave the Special Mention to Aliya by UK based writer-director Dekel Berenson, co-written by Greer Ellison, produced by Marek Rozenbaum, Alexander Rodnyansky, Paul Wesley in co-production with Aleksandra Aleksander and Anna Rozalska. On their decision, the jury underlined: “One of the most promising debut films. It is important both on the political and personal level, and the idea of an autobiographical story from a female character’s point of view makes it very strong.”

Aliya was not limited to just one award, however, as its producer, Aleksandra Aleksander, will attend the Rotterdam Lab professional training programme for producers, which will run next year during the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Alessia Acone and Mirjam Klootwijk from Rotterdam Lab underlined: “The winner's multifaceted industry experience convinced us she was the perfect candidate; someone who wants to grow as a producer and position herself and her projects within an international context.”

The connecting cottbus Award, which invites the winner to a pitching session at the German co-production market, went to the Latvian project The Bomber, written and directed by Pauls Ķesteris, co-written by Gatis Mūrnieks and produced by Inese Boka-Grūbe (Mistrus Media). Marjorie Bendeck and Katharina Stumm, from connecting cottbus, commented: “The story captures a historical moment but universally asks what are the voices that shape us both in a personal and political sense, which is something we find incredibly relevant right now.”

Attendees were also reminded that all of the participating producers are invited to the next edition of Trieste’s When East Meets West in order to have a chance to widen their networks even further, and seek financial and artistic partners during the Feature Launch Spotlight.

Here is the list of the MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2021 winners:

KVIFF & MIDPOINT Development Award
Head Nurse (Czech Republic)
Writer/director: Jan Vejnar
Writer: Václav Hašek
Producer: Kamila Dohnalová

Special Mention
Aliya (Israel/Russia/Poland)
Writer/director: Dekel Berenson
Co-writer: Greer Ellison
Producers: Marek Rozenbaum, Alexander Rodnyansky, Paul Wesley
Co-producers: Aleksandra Aleksander, Anna Rozalska

connecting cottbus Award
The Bomber (Latvia)
Writer/director: Pauls Ķesteris
Writer: Gatis Mūrnieks
Producer: Inese Boka-Grūbe

Rotterdam Lab Award
Aleksandra Aleksander - Aliya

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