Eurasia film festival opens in Almaty

20.09.10 Kazakhstan steps onto center stage Tuesday with the launch of the sixth annual Eurasia International Film Festival attracting cinema buffs to screenings of new and controversial movies from Central Asia and beyond.

The five-day fest in Almaty will feature several movies by Kazakh directors who are leading a film renaissance in the country.

"I would like to underline that our main priority is to get an A-class competition program, which is a very challenging task," reported KazakhFilm director Yermek Amanshayev as saying.

Fifteen films were made in the country last year alone, several touching upon controversial social issues.

The movie "Kelin", by Ermek Tursunov, which follows the trials of a young bride in the mountains of Kazakhstan, was nominated for an Oscar but received strong criticism from parliamentary deputies for portraying society in a negative light.

International directors will compete for a $10,000 prize in a competition between 12 entries, while those recognized as best male and female actors will go home with $5,000 apiece.

The competing films were made by directors in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan.

This year marks the first time that Turkey and Azerbaijan will participate in the festival.

The Eurasia film festival includes a segment on contemporary French cinema and has invited guest of honor and French icon Gerard Depardieu. A round table discussion will also take place and the idea of creating a film market to accompany the festival will be discussed, KazakhstanLive reported.

The Eurasia International Film Festival held its first edition in 1998, and was revived in 2005. Festival directors declined to organize the conference in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

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