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“L'objectif est de devenir un des principaux festivals d'Asie centrale”

Dossier industrie: L’Europe et le reste du monde

Erke Dzhumakmatova • Coordinatrice du programme CAF Pitch, Festival international du film de Bichkek

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La coordinatrice du volet industrie de l'événement kirghize fait le point sur l'édition de cette année et aborde la coproduction avec les pays d'Asie centrale

Erke Dzhumakmatova • Coordinatrice du programme CAF Pitch, Festival international du film de Bichkek

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

The second edition of the Bishkek International Film Festival ran from 11-15 June. We spoke to Erke Dzhumakmatova, coordinator of the Kyrgyz gathering’s industry sidebar, known as CAF Pitch, who took stock of this year’s edition and touched on several topics, including co-producing with Central Asian countries, the event’s future goals and the region’s untapped cinematic potential.

Cineuropa: The second edition of the Bishkek International Film Festival wrapped on Saturday. What’s your take on this year’s event?
Erke Dzhumakmatova:
The second year consolidated our main idea of creating a truly efficient festival, without unnecessary pathos and excessive ambitions, and boasting a platform for the development of the industry in the entire region. And, for the second time, we’re laying the foundations to create this platform. Overall, I can say that I’m happy with how this festival went.

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The event also hosts an industry sidebar known as CAF Pitch. Could you touch on this year’s projects and its main mission?
The main goal of the pitching event is the integration of Central Asian cinema into the global film industry along with the development of international co-productions and film projects from the countries of Central Asia. We aim to provide support for talented filmmakers, ensuring interconnection and expansion of international relations between local producers and filmmakers and partners from all over the world interested in co-production opportunities with the countries of Central Asia. That being said, the priority of the event is the discovery of new talents and the support of young directors working on debut projects. The CAF Pitch programme is the place through which we plan to create an industry platform and market in the future. 

This year, within the framework of CAF Pitch, we held the Producers Network for the first time in Central Asia, which was very fruitful. More than 70 meetings were held between producers, distributors, festival programmers and directors from Central Asian countries, Europe and other parts of the world.

Generally speaking, what are the strengths of the event, and what are the areas that need improvement?
I think our strengths are intimacy, and our focus on the industry and building a network, rather than on [pure] entertainment or [growing our] event’s status. Our weaknesses include the dependence of our government bodies on the political situation, the weak participation of our business in the cultural life of the country and the fact that the festival’s directorate can be changed at the request of officials at any moment. But as you know, the directorate cannot be changed – we’re gaining new experience first of all, so a new team would make the same mistakes again and again, resulting in a lack of development. 

What can the Kirghiz industry – and the whole of the Central Asian region – offer to European and international partners?
We’re a unique mountain region, ideal for shooting, travelling and relaxing, with good infrastructure and food, and low crime rates. We’re yet to be discovered by the rest of the world. Here, we can stage the four seasons and offer diverse manpower. The state has launched a film commission project, which should be fully operational soon, and a cash-rebate project is also being considered. We believe in our unfulfilled potential and invite you to discover it with us. 

What are your event’s main partners? Are you seeking new ones?
Our festival is a state event of considerable national importance, financed by the government. The number of second-year partners is not as high as we would have wanted. Among the main partners, I would like to mention Novotel, TSUM and Broadway cinemas. However, after our second edition, we have already begun to receive partnership offers for the next one. So, we hope the festival can keep on uniting business and culture.

The first edition was held in November last year, and this one unspooled in mid-June. Are you planning to stick to these dates?
Yes, we will stick to these new dates, so the festival will be held annually in June. 

What’s your long-term vision?
We aim to become a leading, flagship festival in Central Asia, hosting an efficient industry market, and a programme able to discover and train a spotlight on the new stars from our region.

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