Alternativa Film Awards

Source: Alternativa Film Project

Alternativa Film Awards 2023

Alternativa Film Project, the nascent initiative aimed at supporting social impact titles from developing film industries, is to host its second edition in Indonesia with a new festival element to showcase features.

The first edition took place last November in Kazakhstan, launched by US-based tech company inDrive, and wrapped with an awards ceremony that included cash prizes totalling $100,000.

This year, its focus will expand from Central Asia to the fast-growing South East Asian market with the second edition of the Alternativa Film Awards set to be held in Indonesia in late November.

The awards are open to filmmakers from all Asian countries, covering fiction features, documentaries, animation and hybrid films, but in the short film category, entries will be accepted exclusively from South East Asia.

Films selected for the competition must address important social and cultural topics and have an ambition to positively affect the lives of people and local communities. Last year’s winners included Mirlan Adbykalykov’s Bride Kidnapping, which revolved around an ancient marriage tradition in Kyrgyzstan, and Askhat Kuchinchirekov’s Bauryna Salu, exploring a nomadic custom that sees newborns adopted and raised by other family members.

A prize fund of $100,000 will again be shared amongst winners, with monetary awards to be spent on an impact campaign or further development of the director’s filmmaking skills.

A new accompanying “festival” of all nominated titles will run across the week leading up to the ceremony and marks an expansion of the non-profit initiative, which also includes education and mentoring outreach through Alternativa Film Labs.

Organisers stated that it aimed to increase the initiative’s geographical footprint and support for filmmakers with each edition.

“As we bring Alternativa to a new market each year and build initiatives which continue year on year in each of our locations, we hope this nomadic approach will enable us to engage a wider international audience,” said Liza Surganova, head of Alternativa Film Project.

“The Alternativa Film Awards serve as a tool to support the development of local film industries - by celebrating filmmakers from underrepresented communities who have important stories to tell and that have the potential to impact the cultural and social landscape. Cinema is a powerful way to create change and the ambition of Alternativa is not only to challenge injustices in the film industry, but to bring about real progress in the world, which is why it’s also so important to share the shortlisted films with the public through our new festival initiative.”

In 2023, the Alternativa Film Labs hosted three training programs for filmmakers across various ages and skill levels, attended by 37 filmmakers, 12 young people, and seven tutors from Europe and the US. From this, five winners were awarded places on Pop Up residency in Europe from Tatino Films or participated in the EFM Toolbox program alongside gifted travel grants for Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM).