Total Prize Fund:
The Awards ceremony:
December, 2, 2023
Alternativa Film awards
The Alternativa Film Awards present an alternative system for recognizing professionals from different countries and provide a platform for the exchange of experience. We honor films that bring change to the world and society, while appealing to a wide audience.
Total Prize Fund:
The Awards ceremony:
December 2, 2023
Submit until October, 8
As an international initiative, the award aims to strengthen cultural ties between various regions. In 2023 we are accepting entries from all the countries in Asia, with a particular focus on Central Asia. You can find a full list of eligible countries in the Awards Rules.
Feature films, documentaries, animation and hybrid films from all Asian countries are eligible for the awards. This year, we are only accepting short films of any genre (including documentaries and animation) from Central Asia. Films must have been completed in 2022 or 2023.
ALTERNATIVA AWARDS 2023 WINNERS
No Winter Holidays
Rajan Kathet, Sunir Pandey
Son of the Sun
Alternativa Film Awards 2023 nominees.
Anna Isabelle Matutina
A Childless Village
Yujeong Noh, Yeeun Lee, Dabeen An, Soyeon Kim
Haobam Paban Kumar
No Winter Holidays
Rajan Kathet, Sunir Pandey
The Prisoner of Wakhan
Whispers of Fire & Water
Who Is Next?
Nurzhamal Karamoldoeva, Sultan Usuvaliev
Alternativa Film Awards 2023 nominees.
Son of the Sun
The Late Wind
The Alternativa Film Awards are presented in five categories. As we do not want to establish a hierarchy, all awards are equivalent in status and each has a prize fund of $20,000. We also present one special award, which does not come with a cash prize.
This is awarded to a filmmaker who has the potential to contribute to change, both in the film industry and society in general. The award aims to support new talent and is given for a first or second feature.
This recognizes a film that shines light on a topic or story that would otherwise have remained below the public’s radar. The award stresses the importance of putting those who are less noticed on the screen.
This recognizes a film that encourages social change. The award is given to a film that addresses critical issues (human rights, migration, wars, environment etc.) and has the potential to have an impact on society.
This award goes to a film that touches upon topics of national or cultural identity. The award is given for the representation of a country or a region, and for putting that place or community on the map.
For a short film produced in a focus region. The award aims to support local talents in their pursuit of new paths.
A special prize for a film that has achieved outstanding success with an audience outside its home region.
*This prize is not part of the open call, and does not carry a monetary reward.
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Gulnara is a film scholar, Doctor of Art History, President of the Association of Film Critics of Kazakhstan, and board member of the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC). She is also a recipient of the French l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
She regularly participates as a jury member at Berlinale and other prestigious film festivals, and served as the artistic director of the Eurasia International Film Festival in Almaty from 2005 to 2013. Among her books on Central Asian cinema are Cinema in Central Asia: Rewriting Cultural Histories, published in the United Kingdom; and The Unknown New Wave of Central Asian Cinema, published in South Korea.
Sharofat is a film director, screenwriter, expert in Asian cinema, and author of monographs on Tajik cinema, as well as a PhD candidate in historical sciences.
She is also a member of the Union of Cinematographers of Tajikistan and the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC). She regularly serves on the juries of Asian and European film festivals.
Aleksei is a film critic and curator of the film program at the Uzbekistan Art and Culture Development Fund.
He was the program director of the International Debut Film Festival in New Holland, St. Petersburg, and the co-curator of the independent film festival Cinema Love in Tashkent. Aleksei regularly curates screenings and retrospectives of Central Asian independent and experimental cinema in Tashkent and Bishkek venues. He is also a lecturer at the Documentary Film School of Central Asia 2023 (American University of Central Asia, Bishkek) and co-organizer and co-curator of the Archival Landscapes: Found Footage and Montage Cinema workshop (Tashkent, 2023).
Rahat is a journalist and artist.
She has hosted several original projects on Radio Azattyk (Svoboda), including Kinostan, a column on Central Asian cinema. Rahat created the play Connections, an audio promenade through Bishkek, and explores Bishkek as a text on her Instagram account.
A professor, Slavist, film scholar, and former lecturer at the universities of Bristol (United Kingdom) and Passau (Germany)
Birgit’s research interests are in the field of culture, especially film and theater in the post-Soviet space, particularly Russia and Central Asia. Her publications in English include A History of Russian Cinema, Performing Violence (with Mark Lipovetsky), Aleksandr Sokurov: Russian Ark; and as editor, Cinema in Central Asia: Rewriting Cultural Histories (with Gulnara Abikeyeva and Michael Rouland). She is the editor of the KINO book series (Bloomsbury), as well as the KinoSputniks series (Intellect), and the journals KinoKultura (online) and Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema.
Yerzhan is a film scholar, lecturer at the Department of Film History and Theory at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts, program director of the international Baiqonyr festival in Almaty, and chairman of the Forum of Film Scholars and Critics of the CIS Countries.
Asel is a film director, director of Tazar Cinema Company, and a member of the Union of Cinematographers of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In her films, which have participated in and received awards at international film festivals, she explores themes of feminism and life in Kyrgyzstan. Asel combines her filmmaking career with activism and leads the public foundation Creative Women of Asia.
Sona is a film critic, curator, and member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI).
In 2017, she joined Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan as a program curator, and co-founded the festival’s industry platform, GAIFF Pro. In 2022, she was selected to join the Locarno Critics Academy, one of the most prestigious film criticism labs in Europe.
Valeriya is a founder and program director of Cinema Love, an independent сonscious сinema festival and film club in Tashkent.
Cinema Love focuses on Central Asian productions and aims to build the local film community and engage people in cinema on both amateur and professional levels.
Locarno Film Festival advisor for China, Korea and South East Asia
Kim began his festival career with Green Film Festival in Seoul as a programmer and joined Busan International Film Festival as a programmer in charge of Asian cinema. He has also served as a member of the selection committee of the Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) and Asian Project Market (APM). Kim has worked for DMZ International Documentary Film Festival as a programmer, and also as program advisor for IDFA. Нe has served as a board member for Seoul Independent Film Festival, and has curated special programs and showcases focusing on Asian cinema in Korea, and Korean film showcases abroad.
Olga is a playwright, producer, theater critic, and author of the Telegram channel Olya Takes You to the Theater, covering theaters in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
She has directed more than ten productions across Kazakhstan, while readings and sketches of her plays have been presented in Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, and Romania. She also curates the inclusive theater laboratory Action Literally, and runs projects #читкиточка and Also Theater at Transforma space in Almaty.
A journalist, publicist, and former editor of TimeOut Almaty, Madi writes for Vlast.kz and Manshuq.com and is an ambassador of HeForShe, a UN Women solidarity movement for gender equality in Central Asia.
A social anthropologist, doctoral researcher at the University of Zurich, and documentary filmmaker.
Zarina’s research interests are identity, gender, and coloniality in the post-Soviet countries, particularly the Kazakh kinship system. She is also a co-founder of the Jana Cekara Film Festival, dedicated to the culture and history of Eastern Turkestan.
Amir is a film director, producer, and founder of Curator, an online school for creative industries.
While working as the manager of film programs at the Tselinny Center for Contemporary Culture in Almaty, he initiated the creation of the Kazakh New Wave Festival and a book by the same name.
Alexandra is a film critic, has a Master of Arts in art history, and is a member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), the Association of Film Critics of Kazakhstan, and the Youth Section of the Kazakhstan National Academy of Cinematic Arts and Sciences.
She writes for the film website Vosmerka.kz. As a jury member, she has participated in international film festivals in Central Asia and Russia.
Aleksei is a multidisciplinary artist and curator working with themes of migration, gender inequality, extremism, and political and social activism in totalitarian regimes.
Among his projects are the socially engaged art laboratory My Art Lab, the Green Journey initiative that unites eco- and art activists, and the Art Booz series dedicated to contemporary art practices supporting peace and progress in society. Aleksei's works have been featured at the Venice Biennale, Sotheby's auction, the Tashkent Biennale of Contemporary Art, and other international exhibitions and platforms.
Dante is a film director, founder and executive director of the Tashkent International Animation Forum, the first international animation festival in Central Asia, and creator of video art for the productions of the Mark Weil Theater Ilkhom.
His debut short film Invasion (2020) has been included in the programs of many European and Asian film festivals. It received the Youth Jury Award at the festival in Nancy (France), and earned a special mention at the festival in Split (Croatia).
Swetlana is a Doctor of Philosophy and Art Studies, film researcher, and member of the Artistic Council and the Selection Committee of the Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Cinema, as well as the аuthor of publications on the culture and cinema of Central Asia and Turkey.
She taught philosophy and cultural history of Turkic-speaking peoples at Humboldt University in Berlin, and has worked as a scientific consultant and editor for documentary films and television reports about Central Asia. Swetlana has also served as the program director of the Asian-Pacific Film Festival in Berlin. Currently, she heads Eurasia Global Connecting, an agency specializing in cultural exchange between Eurasian countries and Germany.
Gulbara is a film scholar, film critic, program director of the Umut Forum of Young Cinema from CIS countries, and the chief editor of the Kyrgyzstan Cinema Development Fund website, kyrgyzcinema.com. She is also a member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), and the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific cinema, NETPAC.
She is actively involved in promoting Kyrgyz cinema at international film festivals, film markets and in the media.
Sultan is a film scholar, director, producer, and co-founder of the independent film studies journal Film Sense.
His debut documentary film Who's Next? (2023), addressing the issue of forced marriages involving abducted girls in Kyrgyzstan, received a special mention from the jury at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles.
A screenwriter, actor, and Chairman of the Union of Cinematographers of the Republic of Tajikistan, Safar is the founder and director of the international documentary film festival Didor in Dushanbe.
Philip is a film critic, program consultant and advisor to film festivals in Shanghai (China), El Gouna (Egypt), River Meets Mountain (India), Adoor (India), Yogyakarta (Indonesia), and Hanoi (Vietnam).
He co-founded the Southeast Asian Film Festival and the Asia Pacific Screen Lab, and is patron of the SEAScreen Academy in Makassar (Indonesia). He is also spiritual advisor to the Bakunawa Fest (Philippines).
Irina is a founder of the Yakutsk International Film Festival, and leader and coordinator of Yakut Film Days in Russia and China, along with Swiss Film Days, South Korean Film Days, and Indian Film Days in Yakutsk, as well as numerous other cultural and educational programs in Yakutia.
She has participated in the sale of Yakut films at the Marché du Film and European Film Market and has been an honorary guest at film festivals in Beirut, Istanbul, Los Angeles, and Berlin.
Vyacheslav is a journalist who has dedicated his career to developing independent media and contributing to civil society and human rights in Kazakhstan. From 2006 to 2010, he was director of the national watchdog organization MediaNet and its media school. From 2010 to 2013, he was country director of Freedom House in Kazakhstan. In 2012, he founded Vlast.kz, an independent online magazine covering politics, the economy, and social issues, which he continues to lead.
Ruslan is a director, producer, and screenwriter, as well as a graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Since his student days, he has advocated for positive social changes for his country, directing educational films for Kyrgyz children and youth commissioned by the Swiss Red Cross, and overseeing popular political TV shows. Among his widely released features are the anthology Bishkek, I Love You! and romantic drama Salam, New York, the highest-grossing film in the history of independent Kyrgyzstan. Recently Ruslan has created popular series Akyrky Sabak (The Last Lesson) and Agay (The Teacher) portraying the lives, problems, and dreams of contemporary Kyrgyz teenagers.
Bayan is a producer, actress, television host, singer, and one of the top three show business celebrities in Kazakhstan according to Forbes magazine. She began her career in television, where she hosted popular original shows. As a music producer, she works with the most famous pop musicians in the country. Since 2010, Bayan has been producing film projects, many of which have been hits at the Kazakhstani box office. Among her recent productions is domestic violence drama Happiness, which won the Panorama Audience Award at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival.
Prasannа is considered a pioneer of the third generation of Sri Lankan cinema. His feature films have won many prestigious national and international awards, and have also been commercially successful in Sri Lanka. He has battled against censorship in Sri Lanka and worked as an educator in cinema, conducting many master classes for young filmmakers and enthusiasts.
Saodat is a filmmaker and artist who lives between Paris and Tashkent, while remaining deeply engaged with her native region as a source of creative inspiration. Her film Aral: Fishing in an Invisible Sea won the Best Documentary award at the 2004 Turin Film Festival, and her debut feature film 40 Days of Silence, a poignant depiction of four generations of Tajik women, was nominated for Best Debut Film at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival. In 2021 Saodat established the research group DAVRA in Tashkent, bringing together artists from Central Asia to study and document local culture and knowledge. Her notable recent exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (2022) and documenta fifteen (2022), as well as her first big solo show at the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam (2023). Saodat’s works are now in the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Almaty Museum of Arts.
Brillante is the first Philippine director whose films have won at all three major international film festivals in Cannes, Venice, and Berlin – including the award for Best Director at Cannes for his film Kinatay in 2009. He is also the only Filipino to have received France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres. In 2005, he founded Center Stage Productions (CSP), an independent film production company with the goal of directing, producing and promoting Filipino films and talent. Mendoza has been a strong supporter of young Filipino filmmakers and an advocate of film literacy in the Philippines: he has established a film foundation, founded a film festival, and conducted filmmaking workshops all over the country, efforts which have succeeded in producing a new generation of highly skilled artists.
Gita is director of FilmAid, a non-profit humanitarian organization that uses film and other media to bring life-saving information, psychological relief, and hope to refugees and other communities in need. She joined FilmAid after decades of producing, programming and raising funds for documentary films. She spent many years with Kartemquin Films, a Chicago-based film collaborative that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society. At Kartemquin, she produced the acclaimed series The New Americans, a multi-part PBS series following immigrants and refugees from across the world through their first years in the US. Gita also served as executive director of the Big Sky Film Institute and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where she led thematic programming around Indigenous storytelling, youth programming and environmental justice.
Rintu is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and director-producer whose debut feature documentary, Writing With Fire, was the first Indian feature documentary nominated for Oscars, and which won two awards at Sundance ’21. She is a co-founder of Black Ticket Films, an award winning production company invested in the power of storytelling. With a strong eye on social justice stories, Black Ticket Films’ emotionally resonant and critically acclaimed slate of films are being used as advocacy, impact and education tools by institutions across the world, included in the curriculum of universities, and exhibited globally in spaces such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Ana Chubinidze is an animation filmmaker and illustrator from Tbilisi. Her short animated films Franzy’s Soup Kitchen and The Pocket Man have been selected by 250 festivals and have won more than 40 awards around the world. Happily busy with films, ads, books and workshops, Ana leads the first stop-motion animation studio in Georgia to support and grow the local animation community.
Umida is а documentary filmmaker, photographer and the first female cinematographer in Central Asia. In her films and photo projects, she explores the issues of contemporary Uzbek society, for which she has faced political pressure and criminal persecution in her homeland. In 2016, she received the International Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent.