Kazakh Foundation Set to Foster Mobile Filmmaking in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – The Dara Foundation of the Presidential Initiatives seeks to develop mobile filmmaking in Kazakhstan after a group of young professionals underwent a week-long training at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) campus in Los Angeles in January, said the head of the foundation Assel Shildebayeva.

The group of young mobile filmmaking professionals from Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Dara Foundation

NYFA, known for its cutting-edge curriculum and immersive learning experiences, played host to the group from Kazakhstan, providing them with invaluable insights and hands-on training in mobile filmmaking techniques. 

The group included 20 winners of the national mobilography festival, who got their lucky ticket to NYFA’s Los Angeles campus to hone their skills. The festival received more than 7,000 applications.  

Shildebayeva expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating it has fulfilled its mission. The national mobile filmmaking competition had three key objectives – popularizing creative professions, supporting emerging talents, and providing opportunities for self-realization.

“We see that renowned directors like Zack Snyder, Steven Soderbergh, and Timur Bekmambetov have already recognized the capabilities of smartphones. Films shot on mobile phones are already receiving awards at prestigious film festivals. I am confident that many talented young Kazakhs can realize their potential in this field,” she said. 

During the training at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus. Photo credit: Dara Foundation

The initiative also aligns with the broader efforts of the Kazakh government to promote creative industries as catalysts for economic development. This support also comes from the country’s top leadership. 

The training program was rigorous. One of its youngest participants, 18-year-old Myrzabek Kuatbay, shared his heartfelt emotions after the first day of classes.

“A few miles start with small steps. We took the first step, and I am sure everything will work out for me,” he said. 

For Saparbek Zhaksylyk, NYFA became the fourth university where he studied. However, getting such a chance was an “unattainable dream” for him. 

He noted that the course began by studying the basics of directing, the technical characteristics of manual cameras, and the stages of shooting and editing.

The group of mobilographers raises the Kazakh flag. Photo credit: Dara Foundation

“I am pleased with the quality of education and the teachers’ enthusiastic approach to teaching. Getting acquainted with high-level film technologies and working with them truly enhances my interest in the profession,” said Zhaksylyk. 

The final assignment of the training was to produce their own films. 

Dean of NYFA Los Angeles Dan Mackler commended the participants from  Kazakhstan for their dedication to the learning process.

“Faculty and administration of the NYFA are impressed with the passion and creativity that each participant brought to the classes and their films. We see great prospects for the development of Kazakhstan’s creative future through the example of hardworking and talented participants in the Dara Foundation’s program,” said Mackler. 

The next task for the finalists will be to share the knowledge gained at NYFA with their colleagues and community in Kazakhstan.  

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