ASTANA – The sports drama “Time of the Stalwarts” about kokpar, the game practiced by several Turkic peoples, premiered Sept. 20 in theatres across Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The screenwriter and director of the film is Ruslan Akun from Kyrgyzstan, known for the films “Salam,” “New York” and “Finding Mother.”
“This is Ruslan Akun’s first work of this magnitude after finishing his Masters in Screenwriting and Directing at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. And the film really turned out to be very deep and strong, combining the actual problems of the society not only in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but also in the (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries as a whole, and most importantly, sincere transformation of the main character and the people around him,” said the film producer Nurbek Aybashev.
In the film, Maksat, is a talented kokpar player, the captain of the very strong Zhalyn team. After losing an important game, the owner of the team expels Maksat for refusing to enter the field on an injured horse.
Upon return to his home village, Maksat learns that part of the land, against the wish of villagers, is transferred to foreign investors for construction purposes. The only way to save his land is to raise money by assembling a team and performing at the championship cup in kokpar.
The main cast consists of well-known Kazakh actors Assylkhan Tolepov and Gulnaz Zholanova and a Kyrgyz actor Emil Esenaliyev. The best horses of Kyrgyzstan that participate in real kokpar games are represented in the movie.
“The idea of the film was born spontaneously. Many people have long offered to produce a movie about kokpar. We agreed that we will perform all the stunts, without computer animation, and we will attract the best stuntmen. Our goal was to create the modern movie about the life of real men. So the idea was born, and we started our work,” said Akun.
The story of the film is universal. As the director says, it is about emotions, loyalty to family, friendship, extolling unity, determination and courage of the people.