Let There Be Light wins the second Almaty Film Festival
by Vassilis Economou
- The Grand Prix was bestowed upon Marko Škop’s drama at the up-and-coming Kazakh gathering, while Maryam Touzani received the Best Director Award for Adam
The fresh-faced and dynamic Almaty Film Festival has wrapped after a successful seven-day run (14-20 September), and ended on Friday night with the awards ceremony, which was held at the Palace of the Republic in Kazakhstan’s largest city.
The triumphant film of the night was Marko Škop’s Let There Be Light [+see also:
interview: Marko Škop
film profile], which won the Grand Prix in the Official Selection, focused on films that were co-produced by at least two countries. The prizes were dished out by the International Jury, headed up by British director-producer Hugh Hudson, and comprising Russian producer Natalya Ivanova, Portuguese producer António Costa Valente, president of the Tokyo International Film Festival Takeo Hisamatsu and Kazakh actress Samal Yeslyamova.
The Best Director Award went to Maryam Touzani’s feature debut, Adam [+see also:
film profile], while Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven [+see also:
interview: Elia Suleiman
film profile] was awarded with the Jury’s Special Prize. The Best Actor trophy went to two thesps ex aequo, as Valentin Novopolskij and Dawid Ogrodnik, who star in Oleg [+see also:
interview: Juris Kursietis
film profile] by Juris Kursietis, shared the award, while Georgian actress Salome Demuria was presented with the Best Actress Award for her performance in Dito Tsintsadze’s Inhale-Exhale.
In the non-competitive documentary section, which is organised in collaboration with UNESCO and this year focused on “Women in Cinema”, Women of the Silk Road by Yassamin Maleknasr won the special UNESCO Main Award. Also, Hepi Meti’s Merata, How Mum Decolonized the Screen and Barbara Miller’s #Female Pleasure [+see also:
film profile] received the UNESCO Recognition Award.
Finally, at the Alatau Film Awards, which are dedicated to commercial Kazakh films that have been particularly appreciated by the local audience, Best Film was bestowed upon Holidays Offline by Ruslan Akun, as decided via a secret ballot procedure on the Almaty Film Festival website. The other major winner of the local awards was Financier: Playoff Game by Elena Lisasina, which picked up four awards, including Best Director and Best Script.
Finally, jury president and Almaty Film Festival special guest Hugh Hudson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the president of the festival, Akan Satayev.
Here is the complete list of winners at the second Almaty Film Festival:
Salome Demuria - Inhale-Exhale (Georgia/Russia/Sweden)
UNESCO Main Award
Women of the Silk Road - Yassamin Maleknasr (Iran/Oman/Tajikistan/Turkey)
Alatau Film Awards
Holidays Offline - Ruslan Akun (Kazakhstan)
Elena Lisasina - Financier: Playoff Game (Kazakhstan)
Dmitriy Bogomolov - Financier: Playoff Game
Chingiz Kapin and Asylkhan Tolepov - Financier: Playoff Game
Kuralay Anarbekova - Brother or Marriage 2 (Kazakhstan)
Azamat Dulatov - Lift (Kazakhstan)
Alim Zairov and Roman Vishnevskiy - Businessmen (Kazakhstan)
Sergey Bergugin - Financier: Playoff Game
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