Alternativa Film Awards Reveals Shortlist for its Inaugural 2023 Edition

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The highly anticipated Alternativa Film Awards shortlist is now public, featuring 14 feature and 7 short films hailing from Central Asia and various Asian countries, including a representative from the Philippines. The winners are set to be unveiled during the inaugural Awards ceremony scheduled for December 2, 2023, in Almaty.

The Awards’ selection committee has meticulously shortlisted 8 fiction and 6 documentary films. Some notable mentions include “Bauryna Salu” by Askhat Kuchinchirekov (Kazakhstan), “12 Weeks” by Anna Isabelle Matutina (Philippines), and “Whispers of Fire and Water” by Lubdhak Chatterjee (India).

For the Shorts Award category, exclusive films from Central Asian countries have been nominated, such as “A Birdsong” by Tolomush Zhanybekov (Kyrgyzstan) and “The Late Wind” by Shugyla Serzhan (Kazakhstan).

The complete list of nominees for the Alternativa Film Awards can be found on its official webpage This selection represents an independent expert opinion curated by film critics, journalists, curators, and artistic and programming directors from film festivals across Central Asia and other Asian regions. This year, over 350 submissions from 25 countries were considered.

Gulnara Abikeyeva, a member of the Selection Committee, expressed, “Films that we selected are, to a certain extent, an alternative to those that are predominantly screened in the cinemas in Central Asia, an alternative to pure entertainment. Appealing to social issues, they inspire us to reflect, take a pause, and reconsider the existing reality.”

Liza Surganova, head of Alternativa Film Project, highlighted the global success of the Awards, saying, “Within the first year of the Alternativa Film Awards’ existence, we succeeded in cementing its international status, having received submissions from 25 countries.”

The winners will be determined by an independent International Jury comprising socially responsible film directors, producers, social activists, community leaders, and NGO representatives. Headed by director and producer Brillante Mendoza, the jury aims to recognize artistic merit, filmmaking potential, and societal impact, presenting awards in various categories that emphasize cultural, societal, and industry contributions.

The total prize fund amounts to $100,000, distributed equally among five festival winners. Rather than traditional categories like Best Picture or Best Actor, the Awards focus on titles and talents exemplifying cultural, societal, and industry impact. Awards include the Spotlight Award, Future Voices Award, Alter Award, Nativa Award, and the Short Award, with each category contributing to a diverse celebration of cinematic achievements. Additionally, a special prize for Central Asian filmmakers, Resonance, is designated to celebrate outstanding success with an audience.

The Alternativa Film Awards ceremony promises to be a landmark event, celebrating films that go beyond entertainment and resonate with social issues, reflecting the Awards’ commitment to making a positive impact on individuals and society at large.

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