A Winner Is Seen at the Start wins the 11th WEMW
- The debut project by Kazakhstan’s Zhannat Alshanova received the Film Center Serbia Development Award
The “Out of the Box” edition of the Italian co-production forum When East Meets West (WEMW, 25-29 January), which featured 21 projects, announced its winners during the awards ceremony, which was presented by Alessandro Gropplero, head of WEMW, and was streamed live from the Savoia Excelsior Palace in Trieste.
The main prize, the Film Center Serbia Development Award, valued at €5,000, was granted to the project A Winner Is Seen at the Start by first-time Kazakh writer-director Zhannat Alshanova, co-produced by the director and Yevgeniya Moreva for Almaty-based Accidental Films. The story follows 19-year-old Mila, who joins an experimental swimming school, but after the death of a teammate, a series of revelations come to light. The film also received the Pop Up Film Residency Award, and Alshanova was also crowned with the European Women’s Audiovisual Network Award for the Best Woman Director, which was given out for the fifth year in a row at WEMW.
The German sophomore fiction project A Safe Place by Sara Summa, produced by Roxana Richters and Lisa Roling (Chromosom Film), picked up the Flow Postproduction Award, comprising €15,000 in post-production facilities. Also, the DAE Accelerator Award was given to the French documentary project Foals, written and directed by Salomé Hévin, and produced by Vincent Metzinger and Beata Saboova.
The producers’ awards went to three projects. Macedonian producer Marija Dimitrova (List Productions) received a scholarship for participation in the 2022 EAVE European Producers Workshop for her project Housekeeping for Beginners, directed by Goran Stolevski. Producers Marija Razgutė (M-Films) from Lithuania — for the fiction project Slow by Marija Kavtaradzė — and Italy’s Matteo Pecorara (Small Boss) — for Elena Rebeca Carini’s documentary Europe-East — received their free accreditations to Cannes’ Marché du Film Producers Network.
As for the sidebars of WEMW, in the documentary work-in-progress platform Last Stop Trieste, it was the director of the section, Rada Šešić, who presented the awards. The big winner was Brotherhood, directed by Francesco Montagner, which received the HBO Europe Award, as it was deemed to be “a unique coming-of-age story of three brothers exposed to ideas that might lead to radicalisation in their future”, as the jury stated. The Flow Digital Cinema Award was bestowed upon Museum of the Revolution by Srđan Keča, while Reconciliation by Slovenian director Marija Zidar was the recipient of the reintroduced First Hand Fund Award, which offers consultancy and gap financing for the film.
Finally, in the This Is IT work-in-progress section, Nicoletta Romeo, the artistic director of the Trieste Film Festival, introduced the awards on the stage, and the jury announced that the winner of the Laser Film Award was Crown Shyness by first-time Italian director Valentina Bertani, while Darkling by Dušan Milić scooped the jury’s Special Mention.
For the third consecutive year, the Italy-Baltic Development Award for Co-Production was handed out during WEMW. The €30,000 cash prize was provided by MiBAC – Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Activities and Heritage, the Estonian Film Institute, the Lithuanian Film Centre and the National Film Centre of Latvia, and went to Bijuterie, written and directed by Tomas Vengris, a Lithuanian-Italian-Estonian co-production (Lithuanian producer Socialines atsakomybes projektai, Estonian producer Allfilm, Italian producer Rosamont), and to the documentary project Blind Pit directed by Giorgio Bianchi and Federico Schiavi, an Italian-Latvian co-production (Italian producer Nacne Sas, Latvian producer Baltic Balkan Productions).
Even as an “Out of the Box” edition, WEMW still managed to rack up some record-breaking figures this year. A total of 680 professionals were registered, hailing from 56 different countries. Furthermore, over 600 individual meetings were scheduled with more than 150 decision makers and 30 business angels. The connected participants in the WEMW Digital World (see the news) had almost 1,800 chats and close to 150 video calls within the platform, while four people won the lottery awards and more than 100 producers joined 22 cosy “Backstage” events.
Here is the full list of winners at the 11th WEMW:
WEMW co-production forum awards
Film Center Serbia Development Award
A Winner Is Seen at the Start – Zhannat Alshanova (Kazhakstan)
Producers: Zhannat Alshanova, Yevgeniya Moreva (Accidental Films)
Flow Postproduction Award
A Safe Place – Sara Summa (Germany)
Producers: Roxana Richters, Lisa Roling (Chromosom Film)
DAE Accelerator Award
Foals - Salomé Hévin (France)
Producers: Vincent Metzinger, Beata Saboova (Pivonka)
EAVE Producers Workshop scholarship
Marija Dimitrova (List Production) - Housekeeping For Beginners (North Macedonia)
Marché du Film Producers Network
Marija Razgutė (M-Films) - Slow (Lithuania)
Matteo Pecorara (Small Boss) - Europe-East (Italy)
Pop Up Film Residency Award
A Winner Is Seen at the Start – Zhannat Alshanova
EWA Network Best Woman Director Award
A Winner Is Seen at the Start – Zhannat Alshanova
EWA Network Membership Award
The Mechanics of Things – Alessandra Celesia (France)
Producer: Jean-Laurent Csinidis (Films de Force Majeure)
Last Stop Trieste
HBO Europe Award
Brotherhood - Francesco Montagner (Czech Republic/Italy)
Producers: Pavla Janoušková Kubecková, Nadia Trevisan
Flow Digital Cinema Award
Museum of the Revolution - Srđan Keča (Serbia/Croatia/Czech Republic)
Producer: Vanja Jambrović
First Hand Fund Award
Reconciliation - Marija Zidar (Slovenia/Serbia/Montenegro/Kosovo)
Producer: Danijel Hočevar
This Is IT
Laser Film Award
Crown Shyness - Valentina Bertani (Italy)
Producer: Pietro Puccioni
Darkling - Dušan Milić (Serbia/Italy/Greece/Denmark/Bulgaria)
Producers: Snezana van Houwelingen, Debora Chiara Desio
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.