Kazakh Animators To Produce Cartoons About Kazakh Culture, Promote Them On Netflix, ivi

NUR-SULTAN – Although quarantine restrictions paralyzed the Kazakh cinema industry for months, the industry has recently started to revive. Kazakh animators have high ambitions and confidence in streaming their cartoons on the world’s biggest streaming entertainment services such as Netflix, ivi, and Amediateka.

An “Erketay” comic book’s poster. Photo credit: The National Cinema Support Centre.

In July, the Kazakh National Cinema Support Center approved funding of 1.1 billion tenge (US$2.58 million) to realize the idea for five domestic animated projects. All the animated movies showcase Kazakh traditions, history, and values.

The budget revision associated with the pandemic, however, froze the projects for a while, the support center’s Production Deputy Chair Aidar Batalov told The Astana Times. The support center already allocated 30 percent of the total financial requirement of each project.

The most expensive projects will be Kazakhfilm studio’s “Altyn adam (Golden Man)” for 378.0 million tenge (US$885,813.1), Yrysy Ak Kazakstan (Blessed Kazakhstan) company’s “Karavan Istorii (Caravan of History)” for 259.74 million tenge (US$608,680.1). “Kenzhe Kyz (Youngest Daughter)” by Aday Production animation studio, “Erketay” by Art Mara, and “Kolybelnaya (Lullaby)” by Dala animation shared the rest of the funding.

“Caravan of History” art director Gali Myrzashev has been living with the idea of creating an animated series for four years. The series will narrate a story about three girls and a dragon grandfather or another creature who travel in a caravan along the Silk Road. The film incorporated modern technologies and magic, a pro-globalization message as well as national traditions. The film will teach children about environmental responsibility and much more.

“Silk [represents] China, Way [represents] nomads. The strategy is enormous. It is political, economic, ideological,” Myrzashev told The Astana Times.

Heroes from “Caravan of History.” Photo credit: The National Cinema Support Centre.

The team of “Caravan of History” recently received notes and suggestions from Netflix and Amediateka to adapt the animated series to meet their technical requirements, said movie producer Madi Kasymbala. The producers of “Caravan of History” and “Kolybelnaya” stress that the national heritage, mythology are pull factors that will be interesting to the big streaming services.

While the majority of the tabled animated films are still waiting for their big breakthrough, “Erketay” has already been winning many hearts. The “Erketay” animated feature film will be based on the producers’ same-name comic book, which has already gained some popularity in Kazakhstan and some parts of China, said Aidar Batalov in an interview to this story. The comics are about 10-year old Kazakh boy Erketay and his adventures in search of a lost sheep.

“The guys developed the heroes, the comic universe of Erketay. They have patented the idea and they have very good printed materials,” Batalov said.

Sketches of Erketay’s village. Photo credit: The National Cinema Support Centre.

The National Cinema Support Centre is a non-profit of the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Sports. In May 2019, the ministry founded the support center to regulate the work of Kazakhstan’s new Law on Cinema. The center’s main concern is to ensure the country’s movies are competitive, as well as to attract foreign movie production companies to start shooting their own big-budget films in Kazakhstan.

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