Psychological drama Harmony Lessons, from young Kazakh filmmaker Emir Baigazin, was awarded the top prize of inaugural projects market, Spotlight: New Kazakh Cinema, which took place during the Eurasia film fest (Sep 19-24).

The project, which Baigazin is scripting and will also direct, follows a young boy who murders a classmate after developing an obsession with perfectionism. Baigazin received an award at the closing of the Eurasia fest and will also have his project financed by state-owned studio JSC Kazakhfilm.

Baigazin is a graduate of the Kakazh National Academy of Arts who has also studied at the Busan International Film Festival’s Asian Film Academy and directed five shorts.

Eight projects were selected for the spotlight and presented at an open pitching session. A panel of international experts chose the project with the most potential for co-production with Europe and for international distribution. The event also featured round tables, presentations and one-on-one meetings.

Due to the strong line-up of projects, the panel of experts also gave a special mention to two other projects – Talgat Bektursunov’s On The Way Home and Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s The Fierce Horse Rustlers.

On The Way Home follows a young Uzbek man who escapes from army to take his sick mother back home to Kazakhstan. Uzbek filmmaker Bektursunov plans to direct from a script by Erkebulan Bekturov.

Fierce Horse Rustlers, which Yerzhanov will direct from a script by Serik Abishev, is a mocumentary about a journalist who makes up fake TV reports because he thinks there is nothing interesting happening in Kazakhstan. Yerzhanov’s credits include full-length feature Realtor which screened at the Eurasia fest. 

The spotlight was organised by Russian producer Anna Katchko (Newsmakers, Myn Bala) who is also artistic director of Moscow Business Square.

Participants included producers, sales agents, public funding bodies and festival execs such as Rezo Films’ Laurent Danielou, EAVE president and producer Jani Thiltges and Brigitta Manthey from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.