14-20 СЕНТЯБРЯ 2019 ГОДА
The Almaty Film Festival is ready to kick off

The second edition of the Almaty Film Festival is due to start tomorrow, Saturday 14 September, and will run until 20 September in Kazakhstan’s biggest city and film-industry centre, organised by the Astana Film Fund on the initiative of the Almaty government. Apart from showcasing the importance of Almaty as a major cultural destination for the whole Central Asian region, the festival aims to boost the local industry, increase public interest in cinema and facilitate international cooperation.

Elena Larionova, the festival’s programme director, stated: “Historically, Almaty has always been the centre of the film industry for Kazakhstan, even since Soviet Union times, and is the place where foreign filmmakers have made their movies. In our programme, we pay special attention to films that are shot in Kazakhstan in co-production with other countries. Overall, the line-up of the festival will present 80 films (features and shorts), and most of them have never been screened in Kazakhstan and won’t even be released here.”

The festival’s International Competition, dubbed “Rapprochement of Cultures”, consists of 12 pictures by well-known and first-time filmmakers. The majority of the selected films are European co-productions, and among them are: Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s The Father [+] (Bulgaria/Greece), Elmar Imanov’s End of Season [+] (Germany/Azerbaijan/Georgia), Dito Tsintsadze’s Inhale-Exhale (Georgia/Russia/Sweden), Marko Škop’s Let There Be Light [+] (Slovakia/Czech Republic), Juris Kursietis’ Oleg [+] (Latvia/Belgium/Lithuania/France), Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven [+] (France/Germany/Canada/Turkey/Qatar), Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You [+] (UK/France/Belgium), Johnny Ma’s To Live to Sing [+] (China/France), Maryam Touzani’s Adam [+] (Morocco/France/Belgium/Qatar), Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s To the Ends of the Earth (Japan/Uzbekistan/Qatar)Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia’s Initials SG (Argentina/Lebanon/USA), and Kim Ki-duk’s latest feature, Dissolve (South Korea/Kazakhstan), which was shot in the Almaty region and will be screened as a world premiere.

The films that will be competing for the Grand Prix and the four other major awards will all be screened at Chaplin Cinemas. Meanwhile, the festival will open tomorrow at the Palace of the Republic with the fantasy-adventure flick The Mystery of Dragon Seal: The Journey to China (Russia/China) by Oleg Stepchenko, starring Jason FlemyngJackie ChanArnold Schwarzenegger and Rutger Hauer, among others.

The documentary section, which will be presented for the second year in cooperation with UNESCO, focuses this year on women in cinema. The ten selected films have either been made by female directors or tell stories about women and their place in the modern world. The films are: Julia Kuperberg and Clara Kuperberg’s The Women Who Run Hollywood (France/USA), Barbara Miller’s #Female Pleasure [+] (Switzerland/Germany), Naziha Arebi’s Freedom Fields (UK/Libya/Netherlands/USA/Qatar/Lebanon/Canada), Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna’s Forman vs. Forman [+] (Czech Republic/France), Shengze Zhu’s Present.Perfect. (USA/Hong Kong), Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s RGB (USA), Hepi Meti’s Merata, How Mum Decolonized The Screen (New Zealand), Marianna Yarovskaya’s Women of the Gulag (Russia), Yassamin Maleknasr’s Women of the Silk Road (Iran/Oman/Tajikistan/Turkey) and, as a world premiere, Ermek Shinarbayev’s Pictures From the Exhibition (Kazakhstan).

Another important development is that the Almaty Film Festival has become the first film gathering in Central Asia to join the European Children’s Film Association (ECFA), and in this year’s family programme, the ECFA winners will be screened alongside other films that premiered at fellow member festivals.

Another non-competitive section is Bright Debuts, in which five first-time filmmakers will showcase their movies after having premiered them at major film festivals around the world. Furthermore, a new national prize, the Alatau Film Award, will be bestowed upon local commercial films that have proven popular among the audience. Finally, the winning titles from the Ushqyn Student Film Festival programme, which was supported by Almaty during Cannes this year, will be screened at the Kazakh event.