ASTANA – The Kazakh film industry is on the rise, according to production companies who presented their films at the first international Eurasian Film Market that took place in Almaty on Sept. 11-14, reported Kazinform news agency.
International film events serve as ideal opportunities for taking stock of the industry. This year’s Eurasian Film Market shone a spotlight on cinematic talent from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The event is a platform for the promotion of projects and companies in the CIS countries. Among the participants are content producers and buyers, streaming platforms, foreign organizations promoting national film content, representatives of foreign funds and individual programs to support film production and distribution.
Regional cinema is having its moment, according to industry leaders.
Kurmanbek Zhumagali, chairman of the State Center for Support of National Cinema, said that since 2019, the state had supported over 100 film projects totaling over 17 billion tenge ($34 million) that include 47 feature films, 25 documentaries, 24 short films and eight animated films.
“We plan to continue this work and introduce new mechanisms to support the domestic film market. Now we have short-term and long-term tasks to accomplish. This primarily concerns improving the current law on cinematography, rules and normative legal acts. Digitalization of the procedure for submitting documents for the competition is also in the pipeline,” said Zhumagali.
During the event, the audience viewed such works as “Bauryna Salu” (Adoption) by Askhat Kuchinchirekov, which will be presented at the San Sebastián film festival in September, along with the action film “Berkut” (Eagle) by Daniyar Ibragimov.
The event also featured new films, including “Rhinoceros” by Adilkhan Yerzhanov, a musical “Soldier of Love” based on the songs of the famous A-Studio band directed by Farkhat Sharipov, “Zhaza” (Punishment) action-drama about corruption by Maxim Akbarov and the debut work of Aitore Zholdaskali about the birth of Kazakh rap called “Shulama” (Don’t make noise).
One of Kazakhstan’s largest production companies, Tiger Films, also presented its films. According to general producer Yerlan Bukharbayev, Kazakh cinema’s share of domestic films increased dramatically from 20% in 2019 to 40% this year.
In 2022, 38 locally produced films were screened in theaters, and by the end of 2023, 60 films are expected to be released, said Bukharbayev.
Since its inception two years ago, Tiger Films has produced 26 feature films, 18 of which have been released in theaters.
The event is anticipated to attract over 250 participants from 20 countries.