Almaty Film Forum unites Europe and Asia

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Date of event: 
Monday, 16. September 2013 to Friday, 20. September 2013

In Almaty, from 16 to 20 September 2013, was held the IX International Film Festival "Eurasia"; the most important film festival in the CIS and Baltic countries, the only one in Central Asia, which is accredited by International Federation of Film Producers Associations (IFFPA). 

Summary and reputation

Yearbook «International Film Guide», published in the UK, included the International Film Festival "Eurasia" in the list of 35 leading film festivals in the world in 2012. The "Eurasia" presents about 70 films from over 30 countries every year. Almost all Kazakhstani movies that were shot during the year are shown in the program "Dynamic Kazakhstan cinema".

The concept of the festival derives from the geopolitical position of the country - at the crossroads of Western and Eastern cultures. Therefore, the contest includes films from Europe, Asia, CIS and Central Asia. At “Eurasia”, due to the high level of the programs and world standards for the competitive film festivals, the international jury works on a par with prestigious jury film critics of FIPRESCI and NPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema)

The business component is one of the most important for the festival "Eurasia". Roundtables are held at the festival to develop links between producers and distributors from European and Asian countries, and facilitate a co-production and promotion of new Kazakhstan and Central Asian films.

Do you remember how it all started?

The first International Film Festival "Eurasia" was held in Almaty in September 1998 with the support of the Confederation of the Union of Cinematographers as a film forum of CIS and Baltic countries. Originally it was planned that the festival will be nomadic, and it would move every year from capital to capital of the CIS countries. The motto of the festival was "For the unified cinematic space!" There was a pause for seven years between the first and the second festival because this initiative was not supported by other countries. At the first festival three competitive programs were presented - fiction, documentary and animated films from the CIS and Baltic countries. The head of jury of fiction films was Eldar Shengelaja, the famous Georgian director.

The guests of honor of the First Film Festival "Eurasia" were stars and masters of the world cinema: Michael York (USA), Pierre Richard (France), Nikita Mikhalkov (Russia), Sally Potter (USA), Eldar Shengelaja (Georgia), Viya Artmane (Latvia), Vadim Abdrashitov (Russia), Barbara Brylska (Poland), Rustam Ibragimbekov (Azerbaijan), Reggio Godfrey (USA), Vladimir Khotinenko (Russia).

Laureates of the festival were films from CIS countries: Grand Prix for the Best Fiction Film got the movie "Beshkempir" (Kyrgyzstan), director Aktan Abdykalykov; special jury prize got the movie "Happy Birthday" (Russia), director Larissa Sadilova; prize for Best Director went to Serik Aprymov, director for the film "Aksuat" (Kazakhstan); prize for Best Actress won actress Dalia Mishelevichute for the role in the movie "Moonlight Lithuania" (Lithuania), director Gitis Lukshas.

What is new in the script?

“When journalists or just friends ask me –what will be special about this festival compare to the previous ones, I want to say – how Olympic Games are different from each other?” - Shares with us Gulnara Abikeeva, film festival art director, before the opening of IX Film Festival "Eurasia". “Sports are the same, rules are the same, but the records are new and the names of the athletes are changing. The same with the film festival, there are new movie titles and new names of their creators.

After the film show, an actor or director unknown yesterday could wake up famous the next morning. For example, it happened this year with a young Kazakhstan film director Emir Baygazin. He flew to the Berlin Film Festival as a debutant with the movie "Lessons of harmony", and returned as a hero; thanks to him the cinematic world started talking about the phenomenon of Kazakhstan cinema. His success is made our ninth festival special.

We have a lot of visitors this year because there is an interest in the country and in Kazakhstani cinematography. Therefore, we divided the program "Dynamic Kazakhstan movies" into several parts, to present at once art-house, festival and commercially oriented films. In addition, joint projects and new fruitful ideas will be discussed within the framework of the "Eurasian market for film projects". And, of course, masters of the world cinema will conduct master classes, because the festival it is not just a holiday, but also is the working platform for professionals. And for the audience, it is primarily a meeting with the nice new movie!"

By the way, symbol of the festival was renewed this year, the equestrian rider was replaced by winged snow leopard, the patron of Almaty.


The opening ceremony of the ninth International Film Festival "Eurasia" was held on September 16 at the Palace of the Republic. Ermek Amanshaev, the President of Film Festival thanked all the guests, and emphasized that Film Festival "Eurasia" will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. Chairman of the jury of the IX International Film Festival "Eurasia" in Almaty became the director and writer Jane Campion, the only female director in the world, holder of “Golden Palm” (the film "The Piano"), "Oscar" and "Silver Lion" of Venice Film Festival. The youngest member of the international jury was representative from Kazakhstan - 28 year old filmmaker Emir Baygazin.

According to the established world tradition, at the official opening of the festival "Eurasia" there was a red carpet; Kazakhstan cinema stars, special guests of the festival, the participants of competitive and non-competitive programs, and members of the jury walked on it that evening. The legendary French singer Charles Aznavour, honorary guest of the festival, walked on the red carpet with the characteristic elegance of his countrymen to the applause of his fans from different generations.

Honored artist of Kazakhstan Gulnara Dusmatova and young actor Arthur Tolepov were the hosts of the red carpet.

Program of the programs and real movies

For the first time within the framework of the festival French film critic Matthew Darras conducted the seminar "Workshop for Film experts". David Franzoni, author of the script of film "Gladiator", led master class in screenwriting, and Chuck Russell, director of the legendary film "The Mask", conducted master class in producing.

A big success had traditional shows of non-competitive programs consisted of "Central Asian Panorama", film bridge “East-West”, World Cinema Fund program, Russian and Kyrgyz movie days, as well as the program "Dynamic Kazakhstan cinema". The last program is particularly important for the organizers of the festival because the main purpose of the film festival "Eurasia" is development and promotion of Kazakhstan cinema, including the presentation and popularization of its finest achievements.

One of the priorities of Film Festival "Eurasia" is the development of relations between producers from European and Asian countries. A roundtable for Film Foundation took place at the festival, it was organized by Vincenzo Bugno, co-director of World Cinema Fund at the Berlin Film Festival. Projects that get support of this Film Foundation usually have a successful festival history. The roundtables were attended by leading international film funds and producers who have experience of cooperation with Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

Nominations and applause

The competitive program included 12 full-length films: "Darling" (Italy, 2013), "Henry" (France, 2012) , "My Sisters" (Germany, 2013), "Wadjda" (Saudi Arabia, Germany, 2012), "Do not worry, Sarah" (Iran, 2013), "Ilo Ilo" (Singapore, 2013), "Cycle" (Turkey, 2012), "Shame" (Russia, 2013), "In bloom" (Georgia, 2013), "Passion" (Kyrgyzstan, 2013), "Zarandud" (Tajikistan, 2013) and the Kazakhstan film "Bauyr" directed by Serik Aprymov. Film "Bauyr" was selected for the program on the Venice Film Festival as well.


Finally, after five days of work of IX Film Festival "Eurasia", winners were presented.

The main prize - the Grand Prix of the festival got the film "In Bloom" (Georgia, France, Germany) directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross. Movie tells the story of two 14 - year old friends in the 90s in Georgia, a country that just gained independence - first disappointments, early marriage, and male dominance. Jane Campion, chairman of the jury, presented the award to the producer.

In the category "Best Director" was awarded Kazakhstan film "Bauyr" directed by Serik Aprymov. Award for “Best Actor” got two actors: Karl Chechchi for title role in the Italian film "Darling" and Ko Dzha Ler for the role in the movie " Ilo Ilo" (Singapore) . Prize in the category “Best Actress” received Elahe Hezari for her role in the film "Do not worry, Sarah" (Iran) and Jordis Triebel for the role in film "My Sisters" (Germany).

On the " Eurasia " on a par with the international jury worked film critics of FIPRESCI who presented their award to the film "Wadjda" (director Haifa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia) and NPAC awarded two films - "Bauyr" of Serik Aprymov and "Waiting for the sea" of Bakhtiyar Khudoynazarov.

Special Prize of the International Film Festival "Eurasia" got Vladimir Malyshev, Russian producer of the film "Shame". Philip Zhallado, movie expert, was awarded for his contribution in the promotion of Kazakhstan cinema in world.

The winners of the "Kazakhstan market of film projects - 2013" contest (Spotlight: New Kazakh Cinema- 2013) are: Adilkhan Erzhanov with the project "Aliyushka" and Serik Abishev with "Ademoka". Special prizes were given to Tulegen Baitukenov and Anton Mitnev.

Epilogue turned to the future

This way IX International Film Festival "Eurasia" was held in Almaty; at the opening of which Ermek Amanshaev, the president of "Kazakhfilm", and at the same time, the president of the Film Festival, said:

"It is not a coincidence that our festival appears with the updated symbolism. Snow leopard turned to the future, represents Kazakhstan's willingness to integrate into the global film community."

The Film Forum ascertains that Integration of Kazakhstan cinema in the film world community is going well! After all, festival is unique as Kazakhstan itself, uniting Europe and Asia.

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