'Slow' by Marija Kavtaradze wins Explore Award at Film Fest Gent 2023

Slow still
News 19 Oct 2023
Slow, the sophomore feature by Lithuanian director Marija Kavtaradze, has won the Explore Award by the youth jury at the 50th anniversary edition of Film Fest Gent. A Special Mention went to the picaresque odyssey The Sweet East by director Sean Price Williams and screenwriter Nick Pinkerton.

Every edition, Film Fest Gent engages a number of avid cinephiles between 18 and 26 years old to immerse themselves in the films with the Explore Zone tag, a selection of films that speak to the generation of youngsters. This youth jury carefully considers each film and hands out the Explore Award. This year's jury consisted of Robin Van Kerckhoven, Marie van den Eeden, Carice van Heusden, Nathan Everaert, Helene Van den Broeck and Rune Callewaert. They were joined by MNM reporter Imane Boudadi. In the end, the jury chose Slow by Marije Kavtaradze as their winner of a competition with sixteen films, including Belgian features Holly (Fien Troch), Here (Bas Devos) and Amal (Jawad Rhalib).

Slow is only the second film by Lithuanian director Marija Kavtaradze and is a romantic drama about the relationship between dancer Elena and sign language interpreter Dovydas. They are in love like no one was ever before. But whereas Elena embodies sensuality physically and wants to experience it intensely, Dovydas confesses that he is asexual and feels no sexual attraction. Despite their differences, the two arrive at their own intimate language.

The youth jury was deeply touched by the film: "Slow captures intimacy in a tender and disarming way and discusses asexuality as it rarely seen on television or film."

Slow has not yet found a distributor in Belgium. The Belgian distributor releasing the film is granted a media campaign worth €27,000 in newspaper De Morgen, magazine Knack Focus and on MNM.

Slow Explore Award 2023

Special Mention for 'The Sweet East' by Sean Price Williams

The Explore Zone Jury decided to give a Special Mention to The Sweet East, the directorial debut by American cinematographer Sean Price Williams (DoP of the Safdies). The film has everything to become a modern cult classic, including a star-making performance by Talia Ryder, a DIY punk attitude and bizarre plot twists.

The jury about their Special Mention: "The Sweet East feels a like a contemporary retelling of Alice in Wonderland, made for a generation in political limbo, a society torn apart by extremes in which today's youth want nothing but pure escapism."

The screenplay of this intelligent road movie was written by Nick Pinkerton, film critic and the mentor of the Young Critics Workshop at Film Fest Gent. The Explore Award Ceremony was followed by a screening of The Sweet East.

Explore Award 2023 photo