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KAZAKH CINEMA IN AKMOLA

26 August 2018
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KAZAKH CINEMA IN AKMOLA
The portal NDH continues to cover the events that happened in Astana 20 years ago. The new capital city had an opportunity to showcase

not just the rapid development of its economy and scientific achievements but also its progress in the sphere of art. Kazakhstan’s cinematographic industry, which got its headstart in Almaty, made its way to the country’s new capital. And so finally, Kazakhstan’s cinema reached the Akmola region.

A delegation of representatives of the cinematographic art, directors, camera operators, screenwriters and of course, actors and actresses, made their appearance at the Akmola film festival “Kazakh cinema in the capital city”. They decide to personally present their new works before the city’s residents. A press-conference, organized by the deputy mayor of Akmola, Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov, preceded the official opening ceremony of the film festival. It is worth noting that the idea behind the festival belongs to Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov. And this is not incidental. Mr. Mukhamedzhanov, who himself is a talented composer and is well-known in the public sphere, has direct ties to the world of cinematography. The state prize for the movie “Polygon” and direct participation in the country’s cinema industry attest to this. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to state that many participants of the film festival are colleagues of Mr. Mukhamedzhanov, whose support he decided to rely on in order to promote the art of cinematography to a level that could be deemed worthy of a capital city. Of course, this is a long-term project but it is crucial to make the first step and keep the momentum going. And judging by the results of the festival, which the deputy mayor described as the harbinger of things to come, the city’s residents can expect refreshing changes. For the journalists and the audience many of the festival’s participants can be considered as old friends. Among them there is the wonderful camera operators, director of documentary films and producer Oraz Rumzhanov, his deputy Anar Koshaganova, director of the country’s Cinema Fund Sabira Abenova, secretary of Union of Cinematographers Sergazy Taukelov, director Bulat Sharip, actors and actresses Gulnar Dusmatova, Zhanna Kerembayeva, Vladimir Tolokonnikov (who showed a magnificent performance in the role of Sharikov in the movie “Dog’s Heart”), Farkhad Abdraimov (winner of Russia’s prize for best male role). Oraz Rymzhanov did not hold back in expressing his satisfaction with the current rise of Kazakh cinema. If last year just 5-6 films were realized, already this year the production of 12 feature-length films has been launched. For our country this is almost a record. Especially at the backdrop of the widespread lament about the “desolate” state of affairs in the country’s cultural sphere. Perhaps the phenomenon of kazakh cinema, which many film critics have been harping on about, and which made its mark at various international and european film festivals, is now showing its powerful creative potential. What’s more, the talented masters of the film industry are also getting the hang of the entrepreneurial side of the industry by managing the films’ budgets and finding the funds for their realization. The role of a “producer” is becoming part of the business lingo. The National film production center is actively attracting investment for original projects and last year they were successful at getting 1.5 million US dollars and received a considerable number of proposals for joint production. Perhaps the familiarity of the western audience with some of the key figures of Kazakhstan’s cinema is also helping. It is probably not by chance that the sophisticated moviegoers of Paris are expressing such interest the two latest kazakh films - “Story of a Young Accordeonist” and “Cardiogram”, which are being showcased in France. Unfortunately the residents of Astana were not as informed about the achievements of our filmmakers. Perhaps due to the aforementioned reasons or due to the pervasive skeptical attitude towards national cinematography. But it seems that now even we will get a chance to enjoy the fruits of our revived industry. According to Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov and his colleagues, an entire series of films screenings awaits during the days of French, Indian, US, German and Japanese cinematography. And, there is also the release of Vadim Abdrashitov’s new film and the grand Eurasian International Film festival. The premier is set for autumn and of course Astana is marked on its calendar. National films will also get their debut in the capital city and the Palace of Youth is already being prepared to become the central hub of cinematography with the installation of modern movie projection technologies and equipment. In response to the questions regarding the upcoming trends and genres O. Rymzhanov and B. Sharip mentioned that there is no intention to stick to set frameworks. The main objective is to produce films for a wide audience. The public must be reminded once again of the attractive power of cinema. That is why a series of competitions is planned - for the best screenplay of films in the genres of a musical, youth films, films for children and animation. It is time to challenge the dominance of foreign film heroes that have taken over the screen spreading foreign ethical values Well-known writer Saken Zhunusov noted the importance of historical films. For more than 70 years we have been estranged from our own history. What can be more important than getting back to our own roots and striving to inspire interest in the great drama of history and its heroes? That is why Saken Zhunusov wrote a screenplay based on his own novel “Zaman-ai” and, after the suggestion from President Nazarbayev, started work on the epic saga “Kazakhs”. Of course it is not easy to choose a grand widescale project that would be able to showcase Kazakhstan and its people to the world, but there is no lack of ideas. And this focus on artistic creativity and entrepreneurial optimism of our cinematographic masters gives the potential viewers sometimes to look forward to. There is still blood running in the veins of the national cinema industry as well as a clear understanding of the current challenges. The young producer, camera operator and director Alexei Berkovich is a great example of this as he took it upon himself to work on video materials about the young capital city. Our city captured the interests of its guests with its energy and one can hope for the future production of an interesting documentary film about Astana. The film festival, during which the audience had a opportunity to see films such as “Tot, kto nezhneye”, “Boisya, vrag, devyatogo syna”, “Shanghai”, “Zamain-ai” and others, serves as proof that real preparation is underway to showcase the capital city. And Astana itself, as Tolegen Mukhamedzhanov noted, is becoming a true magnet for those working in the sector of arts and culture.

Materials from the RK National Library Fund of Printed Media were used in the article.

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