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“Lenin’s Pawn” and “Strange Sea” are the winners of the 2024 edition of WEMW

The 14th edition of When East Meets West came to an end after four intense full days of pitching sessions, works in progress, inspirational labs, talks, meetings and hugs. During the closing award ceremony, the WEMW Co-Production Forum Jury consisting of Hervé Aubron (Quinzaine des cinéastes), Pierre Dallois (Ciclic Centre-Val de Loire), film director Una Gunjak and Angeliki Vergou (AGORA | Thessaloniki IFF & Thessaloniki IDF) announced the two top winners of this year.

The debut feature “Lenin’s Pawn” by Dragos Turea received the Film Center Serbia Award (a € 5.000 prize). The film is produced by Parmis Film (Moldova) and Project UM (Romania) and tells the story of a Moldovan actor determined to confront the nation’s ambivalence, torn between its historical past and its European aspirations, the actor embarks on a daring mission to dismantle Lenin’s monuments.

The documentary “Strange Sea” by Lala Aliyeva received the € 5.000 cash prize Ciclic WEMW Award (granted by the French Centre-Val de Loire Region). The film is produced by Yaman Film (Azerbaijan) and follows the stories of people on the Caspian Sea shore, who live between fear and hope, dreams and their absence, while the director explores her fear of the Sea. 

The jury has also given a Special Mention to the Georgian/Azerbaijani project The Amateur Photographer’s Family Portrait by Nurlan Hasanli, produced by Irina Gelshvili (Radium Films, Georgia) and Emil Najafov (Ultra Production, Azerbaijan).

Thanks to the partnership with a large network of international training programmes and markets, several other major awards were announced: the Ukrainian director Tetiana Khodakivska selected at WEMW with her project “The Blue Sweater with a Yellow Hole” (produced by Elena Saulich, Pronto Film in association with Moon Man and Babylon’13), was awarded the EWA Network’s Award for Equality & Inclusion of the value of € 500 ; whilst Greek producer Maria Kontogianni (Wild at Heart), selected at WEMW with the project “Hystera ”, was awarded a scholarship to attend the EAVE Producers Workshop; the Georgian producer Irina Gelshvili and the Azerbaijan director Nurlan Hasanli received the DAE Talent Development prize, in cooperation with the EFM; Elena Saulich, producer of the Ukrainian documentary  “The Blue Sweater with a Yellow Hole”, and Rafaella Costa producer of “Let It Roll” (Manjericão Filmes, Brazil), will receive free badges for the Cannes Marché du Film Producers’ Network. The Pop Up Film Residency Award was given to Agata Wieczorek, director of “Joy” (Futur Antérieur Production, France), the #DocsConnect Taskovski Training Award was assigned to the documentary “The Broken R” directed by Ricardo Ruales and produced by Soledad Santelices (Incubadora, Ecuador) & Matteo Pecorara (Small Boss, Italy), while the Laser Film Post-production Award went to “Turquoise Mountain” by Barbora Chalupova and produced by Julie Marková Žáčková (Nochi Film, Czech Republic).

On to the three WEMW works in progress sections targeting films at the post-production stage: the 2024 international jury of Last Stop Trieste, composed of Aleksandra Božović (Film Centre of Montenegro), Aleksandra Derewienko (CAT & Docs), Hanka Kastelikova (HBO Max) and film producer Tereza Simikova, assigned the HBO Europe Award (a € 1.000 cash prize) to Dad’s Lullaby, the Ukrainian/Romanian/Croatian project by director Lesia Diak and producers Lesia Diak, Monica Lazurean Gorgan, Elena Martin (DramaFree, Filmways, Petnaesta umjetnost) and the brand new Film Center Montenegro Award (€ 2.000 cash prize) to Blueberry Dreams, the Georgia/France/Belgium project by Elene Mikaberidze and producer Elene Margvelashvili (Parachute Films, Georgia)

This year the international jury of This is IT, the work in progress section dedicated to films co-produced with Italy or produced by the WEMW spotlight territories, was composed by Zsuzsi Bankuti (Locarno Film Festival), Hugo Rosak (Karlovy Vary IFF), and Susana Santos Rodrigues (International Film Festival Rotterdam). The jury assigned the Arte Video Award , cash prize of € 5.000, to the Italy, Sri Lanka, France  co-production Still Here by Suranga D. Katugampala. 

Regarding First Cut+, the works in progress targeting feature films that previously took part in a First Cut Lab workshop, the international jury consisting of Esra Demirkiran (TRT), Paolo Bertolin (Venice International Film Festival) and Clément Chautant (Indie Sales) assigned the TRT Prize, worth € 5.000, to March to May by Martin Pavol Repka (Czech Republic).

For the first time, the Shorts Showcase has given out an award to one of the projects in development. The jury composed of Anamaria Antoci (Tangaj Production), Bernd Buder (Film Festival Cottbus) and film director Una Gunjak assigned the HAVC & MIDPOINT Development Award, a cash prize of € 3.000, to the Ukrainian/French project Unavailable by Kyrylo Zemlyanyi and producer Inna Lastochkina (Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema, Ukraine),  Nicolaï Iarochenko (Les Steppes, France).

Last but not least, the Italy-Baltic Development Awards for Co-Production, delivered three cash prizes for a total award of € 30,000 granted by the Ministero della Cultura (MiC), Estonian Film Institute, Lithuanian Film Centre and National Film Centre of Latvia. The Italian majority awarded the project Beatrice directed by Vallo Tooml, produced by the Italian company Kino Produzioni , while the Estonian company Stellar Film was awarded with € 15.000.

Two Baltic majority co-productions received € 7.500 each: the project The Waterline, directed by Aurora Mischi, Massimo Mucchiut and co-developed by Italian company Staragara and Latvian company VFS Films, and the project “Hermann’s Hope”, directed by Sarunas Mikulskis and co-developed by Lithuanian company Ringaile Lescinskiene – MB Nuline kopija and Italian company 010 Films.

The 2024 edition of WEMW drew to a close with a slate of impressive numbers: more than 550 registered participants from over 60 countries, nearly 600 scheduled individual meetings, over 15 different activities running simultaneously over a 4-day programme shaped together with more than 30 international partners and supporters,  and thousands & thousands of memorable and inspiring moments amongst all attendees. 



Film Center Serbia Development Award
Lenin’s Pawn
by Dragos Turea (Moldova)
Parmis Films (Moldova), Project UM (Romania)

Ciclic WEMW Award
Strange Sea
by Lala Aliyeva
Yaman Film (Azerbaijan)

Special Mention
The Amateur Photographer’s Family Portrait
by Nurlan Hasanli
Radium Films (Georgia), Ultra Production (Azerbaijan)

EWA Network’s Award for Equality & Inclusion
Tetiana Khodakivska (Pronto Film in association with Moon Man and Babylon’13, Ukraine)
The Blue Sweater with a Yellow Hole

EAVE Producers Workshop scholarship
Maria Kontogianni (Wild at Heart, Greece)

#DocsConnect Taskovski Training Award
Ricardo Ruales (Incubadora, Ecuador) & (Small Boss, Italy)
The Broken R

DAE Talent Development prize, in cooperation with the EFM
Nurlan Hasanli (Radium Films, Georgia) & (Ultra Production, Azerbaijan)
The Amateur Photographer’s Family Portrait

Laser Film Post-production Award
Turquoise Mountain
by Barbora Chalupova
Nochi Film (Czech Republic)

Marché du Film Producers Network
Elena Saulich (Pronto Film, Ukraine)
Blue Sweater with a Yellow Hole
Rafaella Costa (Manjericão Filmes, Brazil)
Let it Roll

Pop Up Film Residency Award
Agata Wieczorek (Futur Antérieur Production, France)



HBO Europe Award
Dad’s Lullaby
by Lesia Diak
DramaFree (Ukraine), Filmways (Romania),  15th Art Production (Croatia) 

Film Center Montenegro Award
Blueberry Dreams
by Elene Mikaberidze
Parachute Films (Georgia),  Wide Studios (France), Iota Production (Belgium)



ArteVideo Award
Still Here
by Suranga D. Katugampala
5e6 (Italy), Kaiya Collective (Sri Lanka), Suboscura Films (France)



TRT Prize
March to May
by Martin Pavol Repka
Perfilm (Czech Republic)



HAVC & MIDPOINT Development Award
by Kyrylo Zemlyanyi
Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema (Ukraine),  Les Steppes (France)



by Vallo Toomla
Stellar Film (Estonia), Kino produzioni (Italy)

Hermann’s Hope
by Sarunas Mikulskis
MB Nuline kopija (Lithuania) (prod. Ringaile Lescinskiene and Arturas Jevdokimovas), 010 Films (Italy)  

The Waterline
by Aurora Mischi,
Staragara (Italy), VFS Films (Latvia)


WEMW is organised once again by the FVG Audiovisual Fund in collaboration with the Trieste Film Festival, and thanks to the precious and constant support of Creative Europe/MEDIA Programme, MIC – Direzione Generale per il Cinema, CEI – Central European Initiative, Programa IBERMEDIA, Film Center Serbia, CICLIC – Centre-Val de Loire and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. 

The 2024 Focus East & West country focus on Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine & Spain, Portugal, Latin America is realised in partnership with CNC Moldovan National Film Center, ICAA – Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute, Projeto Paradiso, Proimágenes Colombia and  Ukrainian Institute. 

The Inspirational Labs are organised in collaboration with CEE Animation Workshop, ESoDoc, European Virtual Production Alliance, Fantastic Film Forum, MIDPOINT Institute, Spielfabrique, and in partnership with Apulia Film Commission, Film Centre of Montenegro, Film Commission Vallée d’Aoste, Fondazione Campania Film Commission, Greek Film Centre, Icelandic Film Centre, IDM Film Fund and Commission Südtirol, REACT Regional Audiovisual Cooperation & Training – Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Film Center Serbia, Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund, Slovenian Film Centre, Telefilm Canada, MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstei, German Films and Polish Film Institute.