Cosplays Champions and Hollywood Stars Steal Spotlight at Comic Con Astana

ASTANA – Comic Con Astana, an international festival dedicated to the comics industry, cinema, video games, anime, and other directions of modern popular culture, announced the winners of its professional cosplay contest with a total prize pool of 10 million tenge ($ 21,186) on Sept. 17, reported the festival’s press service.

Winners and participants of Comic Con professional cosplay contest. Photo credit: Press service of the festival.

The contest awarded a Grand Prix prize of 3.5 million tenge ($7,415) to a 23-year-old cosplayer known by the nickname Keller for her portrayal of Harima from Raid Shadow Legends. 

Sean Gunn

The first prize, worth 1.6 million tenge ($3,389), was presented to a 28-year-old student cosplayer using the nickname Isabelka for her transformation into Lilith from Diablo. 

Tais Tukanova, a 29-year-old resident of Almaty, received the second prize of one million tenge ($2,118) for her cosplaying of Freya, the Queen of Valkyries from God of War Ragnarok. 

The third prize, totaling 700,000 tenge ($1,483), was awarded to Reddisson, a 20-year-old art school teacher from Almaty, for her Aloy cosplay from Horizon: Forbidden West.

During the three-day Comic Con Astana event, numerous meetings and activities occurred across several zones. Particularly noteworthy were the celebrity meetings with internationally acclaimed actors Sean Gunn and Michael Rooker, renowned for their roles in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Aleksandr Kuznetsov, known for his role in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.”

Gunn expressed his admiration for Kazakhstan as a fantastic place and a potential filming location, stating that he would vote for it if given the choice for movies like “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Michael Rooker

Rooker, another Hollywood star known for his work in “The Walking Dead,” echoed Gunn’s views. He described Kazakhstan as a beautiful country with innovative architecture and highlighted the openness of its people.

 Rooker emphasized the importance of Comic Con as a unifying event that brings together people of all ages worldwide.

“This provides a fantastic chance for individuals to don costumes and transform into fantasy characters. While it’s true that some people may not have read comics, it’s not limited to that. It encompasses pop culture, science fiction films, games, and much more at this convention,” said Rooker in his interview with Kazinform news agency.

Rooker also offered advice to aspiring actors, encouraging them to be bold and consider Hollywood their first destination for success. 

“It takes a lot of courage to achieve that. But, first and foremost, you should ask yourself ‘Do I really need that?’ You need to be passionate about choosing to become an actor,” he said.

In the interview with Jibek Joly news agency, Kuznetsov discussed his affinity for Comic Con as a cultural space where individuals can craft their characters, whether in movies, cartoons, or anime.

“What connects me to Comic Con is that I am just like that. As an actor, I portray characters in films. But even if I were not an actor, I would likely still participate in this event in some kind of costume. Comic Con Astana is impressive and larger in scale than I expected. The costumes are well-crafted, and everything is meticulously planned,” he said.

Kuznetsov expressed excitement about encountering characters from the Star Wars universe, such as Jedi and Stormtroopers, at the event.

“I have been to Kazakhstan before when I was filming in the outskirts of Almaty for the “Shaman” (Voodoo) series, a project that lasted for six months. The diverse surroundings change continually, offering ample opportunities for filming. This advantage should be shared with the world,” he said.

He praised Kazakh actors, camera operators, and directors for possessing a unique quality, precisely a sense of realism and documentary, which many individuals aspire to achieve.

The Alley of Authors also took place during the Comic Con, offering artwork by famous and emerging artists in several styles, as well as jewelry and merchandise related to popular graphic novels, series, and movies.

Lecture zones hosted master classes by artists and game designers, covering topics like drawing graphic novels, creating original characters, and scripting video games. A new addition to this year’s program was integrating the Pop Asia theme exhibition zone, focusing on Asian popular culture, including anime, Asian graphic novels (manga, manhwa, and manhua), K-pop, J-Pop music cultures. 

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