The 11th Eurasia International Film Festival featured over 70 international films, as well as industry round-table discussions on international co-production, government subsidies, and the Eurasian film industry. The "Silk Road" main competition included ten films produced in countries along the routes of the old Silk Road. The "Shaken's Constellation" competition included eight films produced in Central Asia, evoking notably social and family problems.
Attendees gathered at six screens across four venues in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan formerly known as Alma-Ata. Despite losing its status as a capital to Astana in 1997, this city of 1.5 million inhabitants, located in the mountainous south of Kazakhstan, remains the major commercial and cultural centre of the country. Our jury's schedule was fairly busy, but we had nevertheless opportunities to discover other facets of this swarming city, like the Zenkov Cathedral. This 19th-century Russian Orthodox cathedral, located in Panfilov Park, is the second tallest wooden building in the world.
The members of this year's international jury were Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako (whose latest movie, Timbuktu, was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015 and won seven Cesar Awards), British actress Justine Waddell, Kazakh director Akan Sataev (whose most recent movie, Hacker, was the opening film of the festival), Russian scriptwriter Odelsha Agishev and Kim Dong-Ho, honorary president of Busan IFF (South Korea).
The competition jury's Best Feature Award (Grand Prix) went to Heavenly Nomadic (Sutak), from Kyrgyz director Mirlan Abdykalykov. The Special Jury Award went to Labour of Love (India), directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta.
The Prize for the Best Director went to Elchin Musaoglu (for the film Nabat, Azerbaijan). The Best Actor award was given to Erzhan Nurymbet (in the film The Stranger [Zhat] by Ermek Tursunov), while the Best Actress award went to Fatemeh Motamed Arya (Nabat).
The FIPRESCI jury gave its prize to the Kazakh feature Toll Bar (Shlagbaum). The members of the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) jury also gave three prizes: Best Film for Kunanbai; Best Actress for Alfiya Sembaeva (Sagyntay's First Wife), and Best Actor for Erkebulan Dairov (Toll Bar). (Pierre-Yves Roger, edited by Birgit Beumers)
Eurasia International Film Festival, Almaty: www.eurasiaiff.kz