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Kazakhstan Prepares For 2019 Eurasia International Film Festival

By Azamat Batyrov June 19, 2019

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2018 Eurasia International Film Festival. French Ambassador in Kazakhstan Philippe Martinet receiving the prize for Marie Garel-Weiss. / Astana Times

Movie stars and film buffs will be flocking to Kazakhstan this summer for the Eurasia International Film Festival, which is ranked as Central Asia’s largest film forum accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. The six-day festival, running from June 30 to July 6, was first held in 1998 in Almaty – Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital.

Now in its fifteenth year, the festival’s official program features a series of events, including international competition, short movie contest and competitions dubbed “From the Heart of Eurasia” that will feature new Kazakhstani films and a selection of films from other Turkic-speaking countries.

The list of the countries that will join this year’s film extravaganza in Kazakhstan’s recently renamed capital, Nur-Sultan, includes China, France, Russia, Japan, North Macedonia, Italy and Israel.

Organizers are hoping that year’s event establishes cooperation between Kazakhstani and foreign filmmakers and producers.

“We are waiting for certain results from the upcoming festival as it will not be limited to the parade of movie stars on the red carpet – we are looking forward to exchanging experience with foreign filmmakers, sign deals, and discuss new joint projects,” said Yermek Tursunov, a Kazakhstani film director and the president of the festival, according to reports by Kazinform.

World-famous film producers and officials from LIONSGATE, NBC Universal, Warner Horizon, The Discovery, and Global Film Solutions are expected to attend this year, in part to scout out new locations for filming.

“Everyone saw London, the whole world saw the Eiffel Tower, but you have a completely unique architecture,” said Jay K. Footlik, the founding president and CEO of Global Policy Initiatives consultancy. “This is an opportunity to present Kazakhstan to the whole world, which will be beneficial both to them and to you,” he said, according to reports by Informburo.

Footlik says Kazakhstan is the most attractive country in terms of stability.

“There are diverse landscapes, infrastructure, and qualified local technical staff. I am sure that our countries will be able to implement a successful film project together.”

Attracting world-renowned movie houses may be thanks to efforts by Kazakhstan’s former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who in 2018 met executives such as Gail MacKinnon, the senior executive vice president of global policy and government affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who reportedly expressed an interest in cooperation with Kazakhstan.