“A Winner is Seen at the Start” wins the 2021 edition of When East Meets West

The Kazakh project “A Winner is seen at the Start” is the winner of the 5.000 EUR Film Center Serbia Award at the 11th edition of When East Meets West. The debut film of the writer-director Zhannat Alshanova is produced by  Yevgeniya Moreva for Almaty-based Steppe by Steppe. 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 international WEMW jury consisting of Beatrice Fiorentino (Venice International Film Critics’ Week), Anna Ciennik (Les Arcs European Film Festival) and Una Domazetoski (Film Center Serbia) decided the winners of the Co-Production Forum awards, whereas thanks to the partnership with our international network of training programmes and markets, North Macedonian producer Marija Dimitrova (List Productions) received a scholarship for the participation in the EAVE European Producers Workshop whilst producers Marija Razgutė (M-Films) – Slow (Lithuania) and Matteo Pecorara (Small Boss) – Europe-East (Italy) will have a free accreditation to the Cannes Marche du Film Producer’s Network.

Furthermore, the Flow Postproduction Award, prize of 15.000 EUR in post-production facilities, goes to the German project A Safe Place (produced by Roxana Richters, Lisa Roling, Chromosom Film) and directed by Sara Summa. The DAE Accelerator Award goes to Foals by Salomé Hévin (France) produced by Vincent Metzinger, Beata Saboova (Pivonka). The EWA Network Membership Award goes to The Mechanics of Things by Alessandra Celesia (France) produced by Jean-Laurent Csinidis (Films de Force Majeure)

Lastly, five prizes have been granted for the two sidebar sessions targeting films in the post production phase. The international 2021 jury of Last Stop Trieste made up of Hanka Kastelikova (HBO Europe), Manuela Buono (Slingshot Films) and Fabio Mancini (RAI3) has delivered the HBO Europe Award (1.000 EUR) to Brotherhood by Francesco Montagner, whereas the Flow Digital Cinema Award goes to Museum of the Revolution by Srđan Keča and the First Hand Fund Award goes to Reconciliation by Marija Zidar.

The international jury of This is IT, the work in progress session dedicated to fiction films and hybrid works produced or co-produced by Italian producers, composed by Daniela Cölle (Pluto Film), Anne Delseth (Quinzaine des réalisateurs, Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight) and Alberto Fasulo (director of Menocchio) granted the Italian film Crown Shyness by Valentina Bertani with the Laser Film Award. Special Mention
to Darkling by Dušan Milić (Serbia/Italy/Greece/Denmark/Bulgaria).

Last but not least, the Italy-Baltic Development Awards for Co-Production, two cash prizes of EUR 15.000, have been delivered by MiBACT – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Estonian Film Institute, Lithuanian Film Centre, National Film Centre of Latvia to Blind Pit by Giorgio Bianchi and Federico Schiavi, (Italian/Latvian film co-produced by Nacne and Baltic Balkan Productions) and Bijuterie by Tomas Vengris (Lithuanian/Estonian/Italian co-production between Socialinės atsakomybės projektai, Allfilm & Rosamont).

This special Out of the Box Edition of WEMW ends with a series of record numbers: 680 registered participants connected to the WEMW Digital World from 56 different countries. Over 600 scheduled individual meetings with more than 150 decision makers and 30 business angels, 1.778 chats & 141 video calls within the platform, 4 lottery winners and more than 100 producers participating in 22 cosy out of the box events.


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)


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


Laser Film Award
Crown Shyness – Valentina Bertani (Italy)
Producer: Pietro Puccioni

Special Mention
Darkling – Dušan Milić (Serbia/Italy/Greece/Denmark/Bulgaria)
Producers: Snezana van Houwelingen, Debora Chiara Desio


Blind Pit – Giorgio Bianchi and Federico Schiavi (Italy/Latvia)

Producers: Nacne, Baltic Balkan Productions

Bijuterie – Tomas Vengris (Lithuania/Estonia/Italy)

Producers: Socialinės atsakomybės projektai, Allfilm and Rosamont

WEMW is organized once again by the FVG Audiovisual Fund in collaboration with the Trieste Film Festival, EAVE, Creative Europe Desk Italy and thanks to the precious and constant support of Creative Europe/MEDIA Programme, MIBACT -Direzione Generale per il Cinema, CEI – Central European Initiative, Film Center Serbia and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The 2021 Focus on Israel and Italy is run in partnership with the Israel Cinema Project, Rabinovich Foundation and MIBACT – Direzione Generale per il Cinema.