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KARLOVY VARY 2020 KVIFF Eastern Promises / Awards

First Cut+ hands out its awards

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- The second edition of the new programme has awarded the upcoming film projects by Ferit Karahan and Hajni Kis

First Cut+ hands out its awards
Deskmate by Ferit Karahan, winner of the First Cut+ Award

The second edition of First Cut+, the new programme aiming to boost the competitiveness and marketability of feature films which previously participated in the First Cut Lab, has wrapped and announced its award winners. Running online due to the pandemic as part of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Eastern Promises Industry Days, First Cut+ has attracted more than 150 industry professionals during the online screening of the eight participating films (see the news), which are currently in post-production.

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The winner of the newly introduced First Cut+ Award (read the news) is Turkish-Romanian co-production Deskmate by Ferit Karahan, who will be receiving extra marketing related consultations by four First Cut+ mentors: Alexis Hamaide (L’Avventura Studio), Michael Arnon and Laurin Dietrich (WOLF Consultants) and Boris Pugnet (Tiramisu). Co-penned by Karahan and Gülistan Acet, Deskmate is a coming-of-age film set in the Anatolian mountains and is being produced by Kanat Dogramaci (Asteros Film).

Furthermore, Wild Roots, another First Cut+ project and the feature debut from Hungarian writer-director Hajni Kis, was the recipient of the Eastern Promises’ Works in Progress TRT Award, which comes with a €10,000 cash prize (read the news). The film is a Hungarian-Slovak co-production by Júli Berkes and Balázs Zachar for Hungary’s Proton Cinema with Mátyás Prikler and Zora Jaurová for Slovakia’s MPhilms.

It’s worth noting that three projects from this First Cut+ session have already snagged deals with international sales agents: Deskmate has come to an agreement with Italian firm Intramovies, while The Users by Ivan Ikić is handled by Greek outfit Heretic Outreach, and Wild Roots will sign with a European agent in the coming days.

The First Cut+ team also shared updates on the selected films of the first session, which was held in Trieste last January (read the news). Starting with the winners of that session (read the news), the existential comedy-drama 24 Hours of Sunshine — the third feature by Latvian director Juris Poškus — just wrapped filming in June and is now planning its festivals strategy, while debut drama Listen by Portuguese helmer Ana Rocha de Sousa has been acquired by US based sales agent Magnolia International.

Furthermore, three more projects from that session — Finnish title Nimby by Teemu Nikki, debut Croatian drama Staffroom by Sonja Tarokić, and Polish biopic The Getaway King by Mateusz Rakowicz — are all about to sign with international sales agents. Moreover, the upcoming feature by Romanian director Tudor Cristian Jurgiu, And They May Still Be Alive Today, will have its world premiere in Romanian Days at the upcoming Transilvania International Film Festival (read the news), while Polish sophomore feature Simple Things by Grzegorz Zariczny will be included in the 2020 edition of New Horizons International Film Festival’s Polish Days online program at the end of July. Finally, Ukrainian documentarian Simon Mozgovyi is shooting the missing scenes of his debut fiction film, Chrysanthemum Day.

First Cut+ has also announced its partnership with Cinemarket, which will facilitate the access to market for participants who want to join the platform. There, the newly finished projects from the programme will have their own online space, offering them visibility to potential buyers, while available catalogue titles will be presented for rights acquisition. Cinemarket also provides a legal tool for directors and producers (online powered contract and payment) to facilitate and conclude the sale of their films.

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