The Calvert Journal Film Festival

A journey across Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia through the lens of the region’s independent filmmakers
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The Calvert Journal Film festival is a journey across Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia through the lens of the region’s independent filmmakers.

The festival’s open competition invites filmmakers from across the New East to submit films across seven categories, moving beyond the mainstream billboard to create a platform that celebrates the diversity of the region’s cinematic perspectives. By showcasing fiction and documentary films of all lengths that are both authentic and original in voice, storytelling, and in aesthetic approach, the festival invites audiences to engage with experiences, issues, and stories from different parts of the region and celebrate the rich culture and creative output of its 28 countries.

Launched in 2020, the first edition of the festival brought together more than 5,000 people to watch seven films in the course of a week. In 2021, The Calvert Journal Film Festival will screen over 30 films across the seven categories of the official festival competition: documentaries, animation, minority language, fiction, student films, experimental films, and short films. In each of the categories, selected films will compete for the prize of best film, with a special prize for audience favourite given to one film from across all categories.

The competition is open to professional and non-professional filmmakers alike, with selection based on the artistic merit. Shortlisted films will be selected by an international jury of critics, programmers, and filmmakers, after initial review by The Calvert Journal curatorial team and external selectors.

A special series of features and online events will also run alongside the screenings, creating a conversation around the region’s challenges, opportunities, and contemporary identity.

Film Categories

The Official Competition of The Calvert Journal Film Festival features seven categories
Artful, visually striking stories brought to life with captivating animation

Artful, visually striking stories brought to life with captivating animation

Non-fiction stories depicting people, places, and issues

Non-fiction stories depicting people, places, and issues

Thought-provoking, unusual films that tell stories using non-narrative or alternative narrative forms

Thought-provoking, unusual films that tell stories using non-narrative or alternative narrative forms

Narrative films telling gripping, provocative, timely fictional stories

Narrative films telling gripping, provocative, timely fictional stories

Films that showcase and celebrate linguistic diversity

Films that showcase and celebrate linguistic diversity

Fiction and non-fiction love stories, mystery thrillers, uplifting comedies and harrowing dramas — in 30 minutes or less

Fiction and non-fiction love stories, mystery thrillers, uplifting comedies and harrowing dramas — in 30 minutes or less

Shorts and features across all genres from emerging student filmmakers

Shorts and features across all genres from emerging student filmmakers

DATES AND DEADLINES

OPEN CALL LAUNCHES
15 APRIL
00:00 GMT
OPEN CALL CLOSES
15 JUNE
00:00 GMT
FILM FESTIVAL
OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2021
00:00 GMT

PRIZES

A Best Animation Feature Prize will be given to a film in the Animation Feature category selected by the Festival Jury.

A Best Documentary Feature Prize will be given to a film in the Documentary Feature category selected by the Festival Jury.

A Best Experimental Film Prize will be given to a film in the Experimental Film category selected by the Festival Jury.

A Best Fiction Feature Prize will be given to a film in the Fiction Feature category selected by the Festival Jury.

A Best Minority Language Film Prize will be given to a film in the Minority Language Film category selected by the Festival Jury.

A Best Short Film Prize will be given to a film in the Short Film category selected by the Festival Jury.

A Best Student Film Prize will be given to a film in the Student Film category selected by the Festival Jury.

Judges

Amber Wilkinson
Journalist
Amber Wilkinson is a journalist with more than 20 years experience. She is the co-founder and editorial director of UK-based website Eye For Film. Her byline has also appeared in Screen International, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and Filmmaker Magazine among others. She also regularly contributes to The Afternoon Show's film review hour on BBC Radio Scotland. She has run several FIPRESCI young critics' workshops and recently co-developed a programme for young critics at Edinburgh Film Festival.
Norika Sefa
Filmmaker
Norika Sefa is a Kosovo born filmmaker. Her films are heterogeneous in style, merging fiction and documentary, pieces that create atmosphere rather than stick to a conventional narrative. Her latest film “Looking for Venera” was premiered and awarded with the special jury award at Rotterdam Film Festival 2021. It was selected in main section of the 45th edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021, winning two main awards: the best director and the best actress. Norika is currently developing her next feature film set to be in Kosovo.
Pavel Borecký
Social anthropologist and audiovisual ethnographer
Pavel Borecký is a Czech social anthropologist and audiovisual ethnographer. As an awardee of Swiss Excellence scholarship, he is currently finishing multimedia PhD on water scarcity in the Middle East. In his community practice, Pavel runs research organisation Anthropictures, curates film programme EthnoKino, and co-organizes European Applied Anthropology Network. His first documentary feature, Living Water (2020) focuses on water issues in Jordan. It will have its international premiere at Nyon's Visions du Réel.
Carmen Gray
Journalist, film critic, and curator
Carmen Gray is a freelance journalist, film critic, and curator from New Zealand who lives in Berlin. Publications she has written for include The New York Times, The Guardian, The Observer, Art Review, Sight & Sound and The Calvert Journal, often focusing on the arts and culture of Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. She also works as a film programmer for the Winterthur International Short Film Festival in Switzerland and is a programme advisor for Open City Docs in London.
Natalia Libet
Film producer
Natalia Libet has gained experience in co-production, investment and finance while working for international outfits. Now, she works as a film producer in Kyiv, Ukraine. She administrated FCL in Ukraine in 2020-2019; curated the School of Young Producers “Kyiv Meeting Place” in Kyiv 2020; coordinated the Ukrainian National Stand at the EFM 2020; was a jury member of the shorts competition at Febiofest in Bratislava in 2019; convinced EAVE in Demand to hold its workshop in Kyiv in 2017; participated in the Marche du Film’s Producers Network (granted by CoCo 2017) in 2018. Natalia has had annual audits with Big 4; obtained an MBA with a GPA of 4.00/4.00 in the U.S. in 2002; is an alumna of the 2000 Edmund Muskie/Freedom Support Act Graduate Fellowship, and a member of Ukrainian Film Academy. She has produced Stop-Zemlia (Berlinale Generation 14Plus 2021) and Parthenon (Venice Critics Week 2019), among other films.
Romas Zabarauskas
Director
For the last ten years, Romas Zabarauskas has been making provocative, genre-bending films underpinned by queer characters. His latest feature THE LAWYER (2020) is the first Lithuanian feature film focusing on a male same-sex romantic relationship and one of the very few fiction films about the LGBTQ+ refugee experience in Europe.
Zane Balčus
Project Manager
Zane Balčus has been a Project Manager of the Baltic Sea Docs since 2019. She has extensive experience in management and curatorial fields in different organizations (managing director of Riga Film Museum, programmer of IFF Arsenals, etc.). She is also a freelance film critic, researcher, and co-author of several books on Latvian cinema.
Adilkhan Yerzhanov
Filmmaker
Adilkhan Yerzhanov is a film director and screenwriter from Kazakhstan. Often set in the fictional world of the Karatas village, his films are subtle studies of human nature that are imbued with absurdist humour. A two-time participant of the Cannes Film Festival's Official Program, Adilkhan has directed 13 feature films, two of which are currently in post-production. He is a member of European Film Academy and of Asia Pacific Screen Award Academy, which has awarded him the Achievement in Directing Prize for the film A Dark, Dark Man (2019).
Selma Alispahic
Actress, educator
Selma Alispahic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) is one of the foremost theatre and film actresses in South East Europe. She is a principal actress of the Sarajevo War Theatre since 1998, and her roles include Anna Karenina, Sylvia Plath, Carmela, Caroline Neuber, Queen Catherine, and many others. She also lived and worked in London and performed at the Royal National Theatre, Complicite Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, BBC Radio, Channel 4 and collaborated with Simon McBurney, James Fox, Paul Yule, Tim Supple, Juliet Stevenson, etc. For her work she received many national and international awards, among them Actress of Europe Award for 2018, Women of the Year in the Arts of BiH Award and Freedom Award from International Center for Peace Sarajevo. She teaches acting and working with actors and holds a Ph.D. in Literary History.

FAQs

I am a filmmaker. How can I submit my film to the festival?

You can find out more about our open call here and submit your film here.

Am I eligible?

The Calvert Journal Film Festival welcomes films completed in or after 2019 for which the director, the producer, and/or the majority of cast and crew are from one of the 29 countries of the New East: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. Additionally, the film has to take place in one of the countries listed above, or reflect on aspects of life and identity in the region. Participants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of submitting the application. You can find the festival’s full Terms and Conditions here.

How can I buy a ticket?

Tickets will be on sale on www.calvertjournal.com closer to the event date, once the open call has closed and the Official Selection of the festival programme is announced. More details to follow.

How can I watch the films?

The films will be available to watch online during the festival on www.calvertjournal.com

Where will the films be available?

The films will be available worldwide, save for a few exceptions.

Are the films subtitled or dubbed?

All the films screened as part of The Calvert Journal Film Festival will be in their original language with English subtitles.

I need more information. Who can I contact?

Please contact us at [email protected] We will regularly update this page with relevant questions.

PREVIOUS EDITIONS

The Calvert Journal Film Festival launched in 2020, bringing together over 5,000 people to watch seven films, both fiction and documentary features, in the course of a week.