ASTANA – The spirited Kazakh comedy “Aliens Have Nothing to Do With This” opened across the country on Dec. 5. Maxim Akbarov, one of the film’s stars, spoke to The Astana Times about the film and his plans for the future in an exclusive interview.
The 28-year-old Akbarov is well known to Kazakh audiences from his starring role as the spoiled Loko in the 2010 KazakhFilm Studio’s blockbuster, “The Tale of The Pink Bunny.”
“Now, I’m working in the film industry,” Akbarov said. “I have been working for the past three years as a public relations director for KazakhFilm Studio. Beside that, I star in movies; acting for me is more of a hobby. I also write scenarios for films that I would like to direct in the near future. I try to grow in different areas. I want to launch a new business next year.”
Akbarov studied for six months in Los Angeles, but focused on directing, not acting. He plans to launch an acting school next year that would facilitate study trips by Kazakh actors to American acting schools in Hollywood. “I have three favourite cities: Almaty, Los Angeles and Astana,” Akbarov said.
“Aliens …” has received mixed reviews so far. Akbarov himself says he wasn’t thrilled about his role or the script at first, but that he decided to take part in the film—and shoot in Astana in -47 C temperatures—because he believed in his friend and colleague, acclaimed director of “The Tale of the Pink Bunny” Farkhad Sharipov. “Aliens …” was shot on a small budget by a private studio and a group of producers who decided to make the film at their own expense.
“I depict an 18-year-old man living in Astana, selling cell phones, who tries to open up his own business but just doesn’t have the money to make it,” Akbarov explained. “His father is a driver; his mother wants him to succeed. He reaches a breaking point, steals his father’s car, steals some money and finds himself on the loose in Astana, facing challenges and different types of situations. But this was one story: there are four stories in the movie that crisscross at one point.”
“This film tells a story about problems among young people, state bodies and state procurement programmes. When people ask me what the movie is about, what aliens have to do with it, I answer ‘Aliens had nothing to do with the film and the film is about nothing,’” he said, smiling.
“Unfortunately, about 80 percent of people who have watched it don’t understand what it was about. It is not about something specific, but everyone can find something that appeals to him or her,” he said.
“Many friends of mine from different walks of life called me and said they liked certain moments, different moments from the film. It is an ironic comedy that could have been a miniseries; we could have filmed so much more. The first director’s cut ran two hours, 20 minutes. The second cut came to one hour, 55 minutes. I think it is too long for a film. In any case, it is filmed now, it had been released and it has gotten some good reviews and some bad ones. Some say it was positive, some say it’s a heavy load, with so many life problems. … I would describe this film as a film with mixed emotions,” he said.
“I would like to express my appreciation to one man who has sort of helped evolve Kazakhstan’s cinema industry today, a man who believed in the younger generation: Yermek Amanshayev, the director of the KazakhFilm Studio,” Akbarov said.
“Until recently, young hopefuls and professionals starting out in this industry were not even allowed to touch the cameras,” Akbarov explained. “This man said that we need to promote the youth because they’re our future. Of course, we respect our older generation of filmmakers, certainly, but why should young men study to become filmmakers and actors if they are not to be entrusted with any responsibility? He continues to believe in youth and continues to promote younger actors.”