ASTANA – Lights, cameras and action are anticipated in the Kazakh film industry in 2024 as around 30 national films supported by the State Center for Support of National Cinema will be released, reported the center’s press service.
Historical dramas, action movies, and much-anticipated auteur films dominate the coming year’s release schedule.
“Among them are historical dramas such as ‘Zhambyl. New Era’, ‘The Last Verdict’ about Akhmet Baitursynuly, and a war drama titled ‘Qara Qyz’ (Swarthy Girl). Also, a big musical featuring the songs of the A-Studio pop band called ‘Soldier of Love’, a film called ‘Shulama’ (Don’t Make Noise) about Kazakh rap, a great action movie ‘Zhaza’ (Punishment) focusing on corruption, and other movies will be released,” Zhangeldy Omiraliyev, the center’s spokesperson, told Jibek Joly TV channel.
The center continues to empower emerging filmmakers and contribute to diversifying and enriching the Kazakh cinematic scene. It plans to produce 19 more films in Kazakhstan this year.
The center’s chairman Kurmanbek Zhumagali said in a press statement that the center funded 29 feature-length films in different years and they are ready for release. Half of them have just been produced, and some of the earlier works have yet to be released. Among the unreleased projects are films from as far as the 2019 production.
Bright 2023 for the Kazakh film industry
From local successes to international acclaim, Kazakhstan’s movie industry has had a monumental year in 2023 and continues to grow.
“2023 was a very successful year for the entire film industry. It is no secret that we are currently experiencing a real cinema boom. Film production is increasing yearly and the number of movies released in cinemas is also growing significantly,” said Omiraliyev.
Last year, Kazakh cinema released 70 films, including 56 comedies, making comedy the most favored genre among local audiences, while fewer viewers attended dramas, action and horror movies.
It was a landmark year with eight Kazakh films created with state support receiving awards at international film festivals. The drama “Paralympian” won in the best actor category at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Film Festival in Mumbai, India.
The film “Bauryna Salu” (Adoption) was honored with an award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards festival in Australia. The movie “Brothers” won the best director award at the 15th Tashkent International Film Festival.
The documentary “Eva. Batyr Kyz” (Eva. Hero Girl) won prizes at 13 international film festivals in the past six months of 2023 and continues to draw global acclaim.
The film “Tezek” (Dung) by Bakytas Sanitas, which seeks to give a more nuanced perspective of the villager’s adventurous life, is negotiating with the Netflix streaming company.
With international platforms such as Netflix partnering closer with local filmmakers, the world is taking notice of Kazakhstan’s talent. The world premiere of Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s new film “Rhinoceros” will be held this year at the prestigious Rotterdam Film Festival.
Kazakh films have experienced a surge among the local audiences as well. The recently released action movie “Burkit” (Eagle), for example, collected a significant amount at the domestic box office within a month, according to Zhumagali.
Among the common genres of comedy, drama, and historical films, auteur films or authors’ films continue to gratify audiences with original, distinct cinematic signatures.
According to Zhumagali, the author’s films are a “separate matter.” The auteur films require a year to establish their worth at international festivals and face challenges in distribution due to the limited appeal to the average viewer. However, there is a niche market for these kinds of movies, making it essential for the author’s films to find a way to be seen.
Last year, the Kazakh auteur films industry delighted audiences with such films as “Bauryna Salu” (Adoption) by Askhat Kuchinchirekov, “Brothers” by Darkhan Tulegenov, “Aikai” (Scream) by Kenzhebek Shaikakov and “Auyl” (Village) by Serik Aprymov.
These are the filmmakers to keep on the radar for 2024 when their acclaimed and anticipated films will reach Kazakh audiences.