ALMATY — The Eurasia International Film Festival (IFF) is Kazakhstan’s major event for cinema art and the most popular film festival in Central Asia. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the festival, held Sept. 15-20, focusedon the names of European and Asian movies and was a major and important event for all Eurasian cultural life.
The festival is the only Central Asian cinema eventaccredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (IFFPA). The international film guide included Eurasia IFF on the world’s 35 leading film festivals list, which is regarded as a great achievement.
“More than 180 films were filed to participate in the 10th Eurasia International Film Festival – a record number since the inception of the festival. Twelvemovies were selected which were included in the final of the competition,” stated Yermek Amanshayev, chairman of the Eurasia IFF Organising Committee and director of the Kazakh film studio, during the press conference.
Among the films were “Still the Water” directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan, Ireland, France, Spain); “Memories on Stone” by Mehmet Aktas, Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraq, Germany); “A Hard Day” by Seoung-hoon Kim (South Korea); “Next To Her” by Asaf Korman (Israel); “Tangerines” by Zaza Urushadze (Estonia, Georgia); “Bota” by Iris Elezi and Thomas Logoreci (Albania, Italy); “Of Horses and Men” by Benedikt Erlingsson (Iceland, Germany, Norway); “The Star” by Anna Melikyan (Russia); “Party Girl” by Mari Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis (France); “Cowboys” by Tomislav Mrsc (Croatia) and “Hush…Girls Don’t Scream” by Pouran Derakhshandeh (Iran).
The largest city in Kazakhstan has traditionally held Eurasia IFF and is known in Central Asia as a cultural and educational centre. A large number of celebrities arrived in this city at thefoothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains to take part in the festival.
South Korean actress Kang Soo-yeon, Chinese film director, producer and screenwriter Jia Zhangke, South Korean film director Lee Chang-dong, top German filmmaker Andreas Dresen, Belarussian actress and director Olga Dyhovichnaya and the well-known Kazakh actor Asanali Ashimov were among the VIP guests.
During the opening ceremony, famous Russian writer and director Sergei Solovyov was awarded a special prize by Eurasia IFF for his contribution to cinematography.
Eurasia IFF had a number of non-competition programmes such as Shacken Aimanov’s 100th Anniversary, Cinema Bridge: East-West, Short Films Night, 30 years of Kazakh New Wave, Korean Cinema Days and Dynamic Kazakh Cinema. Approximately 200 movies were shown.
The classic “Land of Fathers” by Aimanov, Kazakhstan’s greatest film director, opened the film festival. This year, Eurasia IFF marked his birth in 1914 with a retrospective of his work.
Sergey Lazarev, director of the UNESCO Office in Almaty and UNESCO representative to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,noted in his greeting to the participants and guests that UNESCO has included Aimanov’s centenary in its official calendar of memorial dates and events.
Beginningthis year, the work of the festival was covered by Euronews.
Reporting for the channel, correspondent Wolfgang Spindler said, “Besides the international competition and the Shacken Aimanov retrospective, the Eurasia Film Festival offers a rich overview of about 30 years of Kazakh film production.”
In particular, the programme of Dynamic Kazakh Cinema had many interesting movies to watch, which included six films. For example, the film “Adventure” by Nariman Turebayev had been shown only once at a film festival in Karlovy Vary; consequently the screening in the context of Eurasia was called exclusive.
During the festival,thousands of Kazakh viewers enjoyed high-quality and interesting films. It is believed that this will make a great contribution to the Kazakh filmmaking industry.
The Eurasia IFF was organised by the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Sport, UNESCO, Kazakh film Studios JSC and the Mayor’s Office of Almaty.