Kazakh Director Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s Film “Ulbolsyn” Receives Work in Progress Award at 26th Sarajevo Film Festival

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s feature film “Ulbolsyn” won the main prize in the Work in Progress category at Bosnia’s 26th Sarajevo Film Festival, reported the director’s press service. This year, the festival was held online from Aug. 12-21.

A scene from “Ulbolsyn” film featuring actress Assel Sadvakassova.

The shooting took place this winter in the Almaty region. Currently, the film is being moved to the post-production stage.

The film tells the story of a girl named Ulbolsyn (Let there be a son) whose little sister Azhar is kidnapped by the regional mayor’s brother Urgen for marital purposes and taken away to his village. Ulbolsyn wants her sister to be free and to enter her into a foreign university so that she can pursue a future career. As soon as she learns about the incident, Ulbolsyn decides to fight for her sister and face down the patriarchal world of the people living in the Karatas village. 

Famous Kazakh actress Assel Sadvakassova plays the main role and is also a general producer of the picture. Newbie actress Dinara Sagi performs the part of Azhar. Yerbolat Alkozha plays Urgen.

Yerzhanov – an advocate for gender equality – believes that women are stronger than men in everything they do. “It was a pleasure to create such a strong character for the film. It seemed to me that Ulbolsyn and Assel Sadvakassova, who played her, share the same inner core. They are both strong women,” he added. 

Director Yerzhanov made the film in collaboration with cameraman Azamat Dulatov. The film was produced by Olga Khlasheva of Short Brothers in co-production with Guillaume de Seille of Arizona Productions. 

Film director and scriptwriter Yerzhanov was born in Zhezkazgan. In 2009, he graduated from the Kazakh National Academy of Arts. His film “Yellow Cat” was selected for the 77th Venice IFF Orizzonti Competition. He is a two-time participant of the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Program with his two films: “The Owners” (2014) and “The Gentle Indifference of The World” (2018). He is the winner of Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2019 for his role in directing “A Dark, Dark Man”. He is also a member of the European Film Academy and the Asia Pacific Screen Academy. 

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