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Caspian Region Films Featured In Berlin International Film Festival

By Aybek Nurjanov January 13, 2018

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While more than 3,000 movies from 133 countries were submitted for the competition, only ten were chosen by the organizers of Berlinale Talents, which will run from February 17-22. / Screen Daily

The Kazakhstani film “Lynx” will be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, a 10-day parade of movies and stars held annually in Germany’s capital, set to open February 15.

Directed by the Almaty-born filmmaker and producer Sharipa Urazbayeva, the 100 minute-long feature film tells the story of a 50-year-old woman who has spent 26 years in prison. After her release, she looks for her son, who should be age 27, and faces the harsh realities of the modern-day world.

“This is my debut full-length film project, and I’m glad that I have a good fortune to present it to international experts within one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world,” Urazbayeva told Tengrinews on Wednesday.

Urazbayeva will present her movie at the Berlinale Talents, an event being held within the framework of the Berlin festival. Nine filmmakers in all will be presenting, representing the United Kingdom, Georgia, Denmark, China, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Israel.

While more than 3,000 movies from 133 countries were submitted for the competition, only ten were chosen by the organizers of Berlinale Talents, which will run from February 17-22.

This year’s program will provide the participants with the opportunity to engage with one another, film experts and the public. In addition, they will take part in professional workshops and master classes.

“I’m also happy because this will be an international project, and I have already found potential foreign producers [interested in the project]. The most important thing is for the domestic cinema to support young adults,” Urazbayeva said.

Urazbayeva, at 28 years of age, is known in Kazakhstan for her films like “Bastau,” which means “source” in Kazakh. That film was shown at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in France, and also won the Best Experimental Film Award at the 2016 Varesh International Film Festival in Iran. Her latest work “Lynx” won an award at the 13th Eurasia International Film Festival, held last summer in Kazakhstan.

This is the fourth time Kazakhstani entries have been accepted for the Berlin festival. Emir Baigazin was the first Kazakhstani director to participate in the festival in 2013 with his film “Harmony Lessons.” Three years later, he participated with his entry for “The Wounded Angel.”

With a 25-year long history of independent cinema, Kazakhstan produces about 15 full-length films each year. After first submitting a film to the Oscars in 1992, the country has done so annually since 2006. Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol made the shortlist in 2007, making Kazakhstan the only Central Asian country thus far to have been nominated for a foreign language film at the Oscars.

In December, officials announced that Kazakhstan will be creating a special economic zone at the state-financed Kazakhfilm studio, to create something similar to Universal Studios in the United States, hoping to attract private capital and foreign companies to the cinema.