Zhandos Smakov’s Blood and Copper wins the Made in Almaty Award
- The industry section of the 2nd Almaty Film Festival has chosen the winner of its script competition after a jam-packed, week-long programme
The Business Forum, the Almaty Film Festival’s industry section, which ran from 14-20 August, has picked the winner of its script competition. The jury headed up by Almaty Film Festival’s president, director-producer Akan Satayev, decided to present first-time Kazakh filmmaker Zhandos Smakov with the Made in Almaty Award for Blood and Copper.
Written by Smakov, the project is a horror film, in which a gang of robbers, after a successful raid, decide to lay low in an old, abandoned house out in the wilds of the Kazakh Steppe. But little do they know who the real owner of their hideout is…
Organised for the second year in a row by the Astana Film Fund, the script competition aims to offer the winner all of the necessary tools to produce and further develop his or her project. Blood and Copper was selected after the pitching session held on 19 September, from among ten participating projects that were presented to the Business Forum guests and experts after an extensive consultancy and preparation session.
It should be noted that the winner of the first edition of the Made in Almaty competition last year was A Dark-Dark Man [+see also:
film profile] by Adilkhan Yerzhanov, which recently world-premiered at the San Sebastián Film Festival, and was successfully backed by the Astana Film Fund, executive-produced by Akan Satayev and Ernar Kurmashev, and produced by Serik Abishev and Olga Khlasheva together with France’s Guillaume De Seille (of Arizona Films Productions).
Apart from the competition, the Almaty Film Festival’s Business Forum served as a hub for open discussions, master classes with international guests and experts, and round-tables, where some of the key issues related to filmmaking in Kazakhstan today were discussed. Some of the topics addressed were the implementation of marketing in the film industry, the presence of women in cinema (in cooperation with UNESCO), online streaming platforms and theatrical releases.
One of the most important discussions revolved around investment funds, during which acclaimed producer Gulnara Sarsenova offered an initial overview of how the newly initiated (see the news) State Center for the Support of National Cinema, of which she is the acting chair, plans to act in the next few months, especially since this initiative has not yet been tested to such an extent in the Kazakh film industry. At the discussion, members of other active film funds, like the Cinema Foundation of Russia, represented by its deputy executive director, Fedor Sonsov, and Brigitta Manthey, of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, offered their insights and advice based on their experiences of funding and supporting their local industries, with some of these examples proving to be extremely useful for the further development of Kazakh cinema.
Rising to the challenge of bringing the city of Almaty and its region into the spotlight of the world film community, the Business Forum managed to introduce a wider audience to the opportunities that are bound to open up soon in such an undiscovered market. Aiming to introduce Almaty as an attractive destination for international co-productions and, at the same time, to foster a film culture for the local, young but dynamic film industry, the Almaty Film Festival has set the bar high, and the initial results seem promising and encouraging for the future.
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