EurasiaInternational Film Festival’s international jury, under the presidency of German director-producer Wolfgang Petersen, announced on the closing ceremony at Almaty’s Palace of the Republic in Kazakhstan at the weekend that it has decided not to award a grand prix for best film.

Instead two films – Turkish director Özcan Alper’s Future Lasts Forever (pictured) and Malgorzata Szumowska’s Elles – shared the prize for best director, while the distinction for best actress went to Anais Demoustier, one of the leads in Elles.

At the same time, Russian director Alexey Mizgerev’s Convoy received the international critics’ FIPRESCI Award as well as the prize for best actor for the Kazakh-born actor Azamat Nigmanov, who won the best actor prize at the Kinotavr ‘Open Russian Cinema’ Festival in Sochi in June.

Meanwhile, the NETPAC Jury comprising Latika Padgaonkar, Maxine Williamson and Rada Sesic presented their prize to Kazakh director Darezhan Omirbayev’s Student for “its narrative, at once both simple and complex” and the film’s “simple cinematic strength.” Omirbayev’s film premiered in Un Certain Regard in Cannes.

The festival direction, though, had been forced to make a change to the international competition line-up when the Russian distributor Russian Reporter was unable to deliver a print of Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt in the appropriate form, leading to the jury having to decide its winners from only 12 titles instead of the original 13.

The awards ceremony was then followed by a further screening of the Kazakh Oscar entry Myn Bala with English subtitles.

Eurasia’s eighth edition also featured a business dimension targeted at the local film industry with masterclasses held by LA-based entertainment and media lawyer Ortwin Freyermuth and Film Finances freelance consultant Pierre Spengler as well as Golden Globe president Aida Takla O’Reilly and film critic Nelly Holmes.

Speaking exclusively to Screen in Almaty last week, Freyermuth explained that the Kazakh government was actively exploring ways of attracting foreign productions to shoot in Kazakhstan and therefore seeking expert opinions on the best way to proceed.

“I could imagine for Kazakstan that a tailored mixed structure between, say, Germany’s model of the DFFF incentive scheme and involving private investors’ money would be an interesting possibility,” Freyermuth said.

“I believe the country’s particular attraction [for film production] lies in its many natural landscapes and this should be combined with a location benefit and private investment,” he said. “Location benefits have become more and more important for film financing.”

“Moreover, they will have to be able to show that a film industry is here with a certain level of professionalism. In my opinion, the Kazakhfilm Studios are already proof of this because there is an active and lively sector receiving substantial support from the government.”