ASTANA – A consortium led by the United States (U.S.)-based investment and advisory firm ESTech, in collaboration with film and television production studio WonderHill Studios (WHS), plans to bring a series of film projects valued at over $200 million to Georgia and Kazakhstan, announced the consortium.
The projects are set to commence at the end of 2023 and continue throughout 2024.
WHS and ESTech cooperate directly with ESTech’s strategic partner, Silk Road Group SA, to establish a joint venture in Georgia.
The partnership is set to foster public and private partnerships with regional governments and large private companies that will provide Hollywood studios and indie film producers with opportunities to utilize local sites, tax credits, studios, local personnel, and talent.
This collaboration can hasten the economic development of Georgia and Central Asian countries, generating tourism, job opportunities, tax revenues, and global visibility. It also seeks to showcase the cultural richness of the Middle Corridor and Central Asia countries to a broader Western audience.
The upcoming film “Impossible Derby,” an inspiring story of the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, is one of the first projects utilizing the regional infrastructure. The film will feature a Kazakh-American actress, Ayanat Yesmagambetova, who played a nomadic princess in a $40 million epic “Nomad” (2005).
“I was lucky enough to be part of Kazakh cinema from a young age, thanks to director Satybaldy Narymbetov in the film “Leila’s Prayer.” Then I realized my dream was to blend Kazakh and Hollywood cinema, Kazakh and Hollywood stories. Having spent a long time in America, I saw that my Kazakh-American dream could become a reality,” she shared.
With the script finalized and actor selection underway, filming will begin next year, offering 2,500 job opportunities in Kazakhstan.
Screenwriter Tom Teicholz was impressed by the traditions and ceremonies he discovered during his travels in Kazakhstan.
“It was so delightful and rich. It gave me all the necessary materials to write the story,” he said.
Teicholz believes the film will resonate positively with American audiences, particularly the narrative of a Kazakh woman achieving victory in a U.S. horse race.