The Alternativa Film Project, an initiative of the California-based tech company inDrive, is a new international project to support filmmakers from developing film industries and to make them more visible on a global scale.

The project kicked off in autumn 2023 by featuring 3 film labs, including the so-called Impact Lab, that caters for producers and directors of projects that could have significant impact on society.

Each year, one of the participating projects of the Lab will receive the Pop Up Alternativa Impact Award, and thus benefits from an individualized program within the Pop Up Film Residency in the year following the award reception.

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Assel Aushakimova

Assel Aushakimova


Assel is a Kazakh director, screenwriter and producer. Assel graduated from the International Film Business Academy of the Busan Asian Film School in 2021. She is Berlinale Talents alumna. Assel has just finished the post-production of her second feature film BIKECHESS (Kazakhstan-France-Norway). It was awarded Works in Progress award at industry section of Karlovy Vary IFF 2023. This film was supported by Biennale College Cinema of Venice IFF, Sorfond (Norway) and CNC (France). Her first feature film WELCOME TO THE USA had its world premiere at AFI Fest 2019 (New Auteurs). This is the first Kazakh feature film with the protagonist from the LGBTQ community. It was awarded Grand Jury Prize as Best International Narrative Feature of NewFest New York’s LGBTQ Film Festival 2020 and was screened at many international Queer film festivals.

Assel directed, wrote and produced three short films that participated in Uppsala Short Film Festival, Cottbus FilmFestival, PÖFF Shorts, GoEast, Jogja NETPAC and other festivals. Her recent short film COMRADE POLICEMAN was awarded Special Prize in the Short Film Competition of Cottbus FilmFestival.

Assel participated in Eastern Promises of Karlovy Vary IFF 2023, Biennale College Cinema of Venice IFF 2020, Connecting Cottbus 2021, Meetings on the Bridge 2021, BOAT Meeting 2020, Script POOL Tallinn 2018 and Eurasia spotlight 2017.

Astana Internet Stars

The 42-year-old Kazakh man Nurlan has just made his first speech in the Parliament and he has a high position in a ministry, a family, an apartment, a car and a great future and career. But a compromising video leaked to the Internet puts his reputation and future at risk.