Directors Dea Kulumbegashvili, Visar Morina Win Baumi Script Development Award

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Filmmakers Dea Kulumbegashvili (Beginning) and Visar Morina (Exil) are this year’s joint winners of the 2022 Baumi Script Development Award, an indie film bursary set up in honor of the late German producer Karl Baumgartner (Le Havre, Clouds of Sils Maria).

Georgian filmmaker Kulumbegashvili won for her treatment for her next feature project, Historia, which follows a female obstetrician in a rural part of Georgia who performs illegal abortions. German-Kosovar filmmaker Morina got the nod for the pitch for his upcoming feature Hatixhe and Shaban, which looks at a family in rural Kosovo, which loses its farm and is forced to move to the city to earn a living.

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The two will share the $21,000 (20,000 eduro) cash prize, to be put toward developing their respective scripts.

Kulumbegashvili’s debut feature, Beginning, a story of a woman caught in an isolated community of Jehovah’s Witnesses in rural Georgia, was picked for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, sadly canceled due to COVID-19, and also screened in Toronto, San Sebastián and Busan. Georgia picked it as its entry for the 2021 Oscars in the best international feature category.

Morina’s Exil, about a Kosovo expat in Germany, who finds himself the subject of relentless xenophobic bullying, premiered at Sundance and Berlin in 2020. It was also an Oscar contender and represented Kosovo in the 2021 international feature race. (Neither film made the Oscar shortlist).

Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi (On Body and Soul, The Story of My Wife) headed up the jury that picked this year’s Baumi Award winner. The Baumi Award, set up in 2015, is meant to support the kind of “free and independent” art house cinema Baumgartner was known for. The German producer was a pioneer of international co-productions and helped such international auteurs as Aki Kaurismaki, Olivier Assayas, Emir Kusturica and Kim Ki-duk get their movies made.

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