The first-ever Spotlight Award was granted to Bride Kidnapping (2023), a Kyrgyzstan film directed by Mirlan Adbykalykov which charts the real-life abductions of girls for forced marriages. The jury also gave a special mention to Uzbekistan feature Sunday (2023, dir. Shokir Kholikov), a family drama about generational evolution and tradition, for its “mature depiction of human relationships in a fast-changing society.”

The Future Voice Award went to director Askhat Kuchinchirekov of Kazakhstan for their feature Bauryna Salu (2023), a coming-of-age story that explores the meaning of family.

The Alter Award was granted to Kazakhstan documentary Qoryqpa (2023, dir. Katerina Suvorova). The film reflects the events of the last few years in Kazakhstan, and the complex processes that occurred within civil society during this period.

The Nativa Award was then bestowed to Nepal film No Winter Holidays (2023, dir. Radjan Kathet and Sunir Pandey). The jury expressed admiration, saying it “takes you on a journey that is a joy to experience. With few words, long shots, and a change in season it offers a truthful tale that is stranger than fiction, culturally critical and distinctly beautiful.”

Finally, the Short Award was presented to Kyrgyzstan short film Son of the Sun (2022, dir. Dastan Madalbekov) for “for its frank and heartfelt story focusing on child's subtle pains and hidden fears which often go unnoticed by their families.”

Beyond these five prizes, the Resonance Award was given to Kazakhstan feature QAŞ (2022, dir. Aisultan Seitov) – this honor celebrates outstanding success with the audience, but is not part of the open call and does not carry a monetary award.

The organizers also decided to award a special mention to Happiness (2022, dir. Askar Uzabaev), a harrowing story about domestic violence in a small Kazakhstan village, “for an uncompromising portrayal of a terrible burning issue present in every part of the world.”