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Ioan Antoci’s ‘Japanese Dog’ is awarded Krzysztof Kieslowski Prize

If films such as Hungry’s Delta from Kornél Mundruczó, Bosnia’s Snow from Aida Begic and the slew of Romanian offerings are any indication – better infrastructure is equal to burgeoning new cinema trends from Central and Eastern Europe.

If films such as Hungry’s Delta from Kornél Mundruczó, Bosnia’s Snow from Aida Begic and the slew of Romanian offerings are any indication – better infrastructure is equal to burgeoning new cinema trends from Central and Eastern Europe. Among the better screenplay competitions specially designed for future screenwriter voices of Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award, now in its third year, might just be the next place from which the next great film might be born from. This year’s recipient of a cash prize is unknown scribe Romanian Ioan Antoci and his The Japanese Dog.

Kieslowski’s late films dealt with the slice of life portraits of the human spirit, and from what I can tell, the ScripTeast award aims to find that same connection. Introduced during the Cannes film festival, the board didn’t unveil the film’s synopsis but instead mentioned that Antoci’s piece confronts “issues of family, grief, and faith, amongst others, are handled in a sensitive and charming way that belies the screenwriter’s relative inexperience. His all too recognizable characters are flawed individuals, who are ultimately redeemed through their own innate goodness, so that in the end the script is life affirming, and will have audiences crying with tears of joy.”

Here is the complete list of submitted screenplays.

AZC by Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri (Romania)
Bella Luna by Ivan Fila (Czech Republic)
Cahiers du Cinema/ Edition Lietuva by Saulius Drunga (Lithuania)
Collapse by Andrzej Golda (Poland)
A Friend of Mine by Mart Kivastik (Estonia)
I Married Al-Kaida by Andrej Kosak (Slovenia)
Japanese Dog by Ioan Antoci (Romania)
Lenin’s Curse by Maria Graczyk (Poland)
Night Boats by Elvis Bosnjak and Igor Mirkovic (Croatia)
Retrace by Judit Elek and Laszlo Berger (Hungary)
Security by Daniel Erdelyi (Hungary)
Words by Izabela Szylko (Poland)

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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