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Curtain up on Eurasia Film Fest in Kazakhstan


The 4th Eurasia International Film Festival takes place in Almaty from the 23rd- 29th September. The Festival is backed by the Kazakh Ministry of Culture & Information and organised by Kazakhfilm, the state-run film company.

The Festival – which forms a bridge between Eastern and Western culture - includes screenings of new Kazakh and Central Asian films, plus a wide variety of films made further afield.

Among this year’s highlights are a Franco-Kazakh co-production titled Shuga by Kazakh New Wave director Darezhan Omirbayev and the much-anticipated Legacy, a French-Georgian co-production by director Géla Babluani, who last year won a Eurasia award for his shocking thriller 13 Tzameti – currently being remade in Hollywood.

Launched with much fanfare in 1998, the 2nd Eurasia Festival only took place in 2005, but it has now become an annual event. Main screenings are held at The Palace of the Republic, Silk Way City and The Caesar film theatres.

This year’s festival jury includes Argentine producer Ariel Rotter, Iranian actress Leila Hatami, Russian director Vladimir Khotinenko and Almaty’s own Ardak Amirkulov – who is also professor at the Almaty Film Institute.

One of the founding father’s of Kazakh cinema, Mazhit Begalin, will be honoured with a retrospective to tie-in with his 85th birthday.

Special guests include the American actor Armand Assante and Indian star Nandita Das.

All told, the 4th Eurasia International Film Festival looks set to become the festival for the whole of the Central Asia region.

Legacy (Georgia-France, 2006) - Géla Babluani & Temur Babluany
Kurak Korpe (Kazkakhstan, 2007) - Rustem Abdrashev
Man’s Job (Finland , 2006) - Alexy Salmenpera
Buddha, Collapsing From Shame (Iran, 2007) - Hana Makhmalbaf
Simple Things (Russia, 2006) - Alexey Popogrebsky
Shima (Uzbekistan, 2007) - Bakhodir Uldashev
Autumn Gardens (France-Italy-Russia, 2006) - Otar Ioseliani
Foster Child (Philippines, 2007) - Brilliante Mendoza
California Dreaming (Romania, 2006) - Christian Nemesku
Three Girls (Azerbaijan-Russia-Germany, 2006) - Murad Ibragimbekov
Lost in Beijing (Beijing, 2007) - Li U
Shuga (Kazakhstan-France, 2007) - Darezhan Omirbayev
The 1st Eurasia International Film Festival was held in 1998. Veteran Hollywood actor Michael York, French actor Pierre Richard, British director Sally Potter, the Polish actress Barbara Brylska, the Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov and the experimental US director Godfrey Reggio were among the invited guests. More than 200 journalists were accredited, many from the USA and Australia. The Festival programme consisted of 172 features and the opening ceremony included a screening of Eisenstein’s masterpiece Battleship Potemkin - accompanied by a symphony orchestra lead by David Pollit.
At the 2nd Eurasia International Film Festival in 2005, over 170 films from over 30 countries were screened alongside retrospective reviews of the careers of South Korean director/writer Kim-Ki-Duk and Sarajevo’s most famous son Emir Kusturica. The Grand-Prix went to Kira Muratova for The Tuner and the Best Director award went to Alexander Sokurov for The Sun. Round-table conferences devoted to the development of Kazakh cinema in the context of globalisation were also held. Among the stars attending were Belgiun kick-boxing star Jean-Claude Van Damme, Italy’s Michele Placido and Ornella Muti and French screen goddess Catherine Deneuve. Theo Angelopoulos, the Greek director of Land and Freedom (1995) and Tonino Guerra, the legendary Italian scriptwriter of Antonioni’s Blow-Up and Fellini’s Amarcord gave masterclasses.

In 2006, during the 3rd Eurasia Film Festival, the Eurasia Grand Prix was awarded to the Kazakh film Notes of the Trackman - a debut feature by Zhanybek Zhetiruov. Best Director went to Gyang Yuan for Little Red Flowers and the Best Actor award went to the Japanese Matasokha Ibu for his performance in Swinging (by Miya Nishikawa). Iranian Ladan Mostofi was deemed Best Actress for Goodbye Life. Retrospectives of the work of Iranian master Mahsen Makhmalbaf and Germany’s Volker Schlöndorff were also mounted (Schlöndorfff has gone on to make Ulzhan about a Frenchman’s travels through Kazakhstan – due for release now). Star guests included US actor Steven Seagal.


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