UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication Organization. Since 1994, UNESCO has been working in Kazakhstan in several directions, one of which is “Culture”. The mission of this direction is to build peace and sustainable development through the preservation of cultural heritage and creativity.
To support creative industries around the world in 2005, UNESCO adopted a Convention to support these industries through international cooperation and the formation of the necessary mechanisms. The International Fund for Cultural Diversity and the technical assistance program provide support to states and civil society organizations in the development and implementation of cultural policies and cultural activities to strengthen creative industries, including the film industry.
In 2017, Almaty became one of the creative cities of UNESCO, the network that has 180 cities from 72 countries. All cities demonstrate creative potential in the following seven areas: art and folk art, design, cinematography, gastronomy, literature, media art and music. All cities have committed themselves to develop and share the best innovative methods for the development of creative industries, expanding their participation in cultural life and integrating culture into sustainable urban development policies.
In 2018, UNESCO supported the Almaty Film Festival and acted as a partner of this important event, which directly contributes to the cultural development of Kazakhstan, the exchange of knowledge and experience with other countries in the field of cinema; strengthens relations with representatives of foreign countries and increases recognition of the country in the field of creativity at the international level.
Krista Pikkat, UNESCO Representative in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan explained UNESCO’s interest as follows: “UNESCO supports the preservation, safeguarding and promotion of the various forms and manifestations of culture in Central Asia, starting from tangible and intangible cultural heritage to creative industries. In many countries worldwide, creative industries make up around 10% of national GDP; the sector provides nearly 30 million jobs employing more young people between the ages of 15 and 29 than any other sector. The creative industries sector in Central Asia represents many untapped opportunities. This is why we are stepping up our engagement, with a particular focus on the film industry. This is a sector in which culture, creativity and innovation can bring income-generation opportunities. We are pleased to partner with the Almaty Film Festival in this context for the second year in a row,”
The first Almaty Film Festival, together with UNESCO, presented the program of documentary films “Cultural and Natural Heritage, Tourism and Sport”, at which UNESCO established a special prize for the best film. There were six documentaries selected corresponding the topic which showed the importance of living in harmony with nature and preserving the diversity of cultural traditions.
Last year, the UNESCO award was given to the documentary film “Genesis 2.0”, which is a coproduction of 5 countries: Switzerland, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The film was directed by Christian Frei and Maksim Abugayev. The hand-made felt carpet woven by the best Kazakhstani craftsmen was a commemorative prize in the nomination “Cultural and Natural Heritage, Tourism and Sport”. Krista Pikkat, Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty, presented it to the winners at the closing ceremony of the festival on September 19, 2018.
This year, the second Almaty Film Festival, which will be held from September 14 to 20, within the out-of-competition program of documentary films in cooperation with UNESCO there will be 10 films presented on the theme “Women in Cinema”. This section will include documentaries made by women directors or telling about women. A round table will be held with the participation of UNESCO representatives.
UNESCO in Kazakhstan
In 1992, the Republic of Kazakhstan joined UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication Organization), which enhanced the active exchange of cultures between Kazakhstan and the UNESCO member countries and the expansion of humanitarian knowledge in the country.
In 1993, the National Commission for UNESCO was created, which emphasized the cooperation of Kazakhstan with UNESCO and the integration of the Republic into the world cultural space. In the same year, Kazakhstan took part in a number of Programs in the field of science, education, culture and communications.
At the 27th session of the UNESCO General Conference, the world community learned about the history of the people of Kazakhstan, its multifaceted culture, ways of becoming a young independent state and its development.