National Competition
International Competition
Laila Pakalnina
Chairman of the Jury:

Born in Liepāja, Latvia, in 1962. Graduated from the Directing Department of the Film Institute VGIK in Moscow (1991). Director and scriptwriter of 32 documentaries, five shorts, and six fiction features. In total, she has 43 films, two children, one husband, two dogs and two bicycles on her account. Her films have screened at film festivals in Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Rome, Tallinn and others, where they have won numerous awards. She is known for such films as Dawn (2015), Pizza (2012), Theodore (2006), The Python (2003), The Shoe (1998).

Hana Makhmalbaf

Born in Tehran in 1988. At age 7 acted in her father Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s “A moment of Innocence”. Studied cinema at the Makhmalbaf Film School, worked on the Makhmalbaf family’s films as still photographer, script supervisor, and assistant director. At age 14, she shot a documentary titled “Joy of Madness” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2003 and received three awards. Her first feature “Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame” (2007) was shot in Bamyan, Afghanistan. The film received many prestigious awards, including a Crystal Bear in Berlin (2008) and the Grand Jury Award at San Sebastian (2007).

Sano Shinju

Born in Japan in 1965. Started out as a child actor. During a visit to Kazakhstan, he discovered the Kazakh New Wave. Since 1995 he has been working with Amir Karakulov, producing his film Last Holidays in 1996. The film won the Tiger Award at Rotterdam IFF and the Golden Prize at Tokyo IFF. Among his other productions are Serik Aprymov’s Aksuat (1997) and Three Brothers (1999), which received awards at festivals in Nantes, Tokyo and Torino. He continued working with Amir Karakulov on Jylama! (2002). Together with Erlan Nurmukhambetov, he directed The First Rains of Spring (2011), which won the Grand Prix of the 7th Eurasia IFF.

Milko Lazarov

Born in Bulgaria in 1967. Studied Film and TV Direction at the National Academy for Theatre and Film (Sofia, Bulgaria). His first feature Alienation (2013) premiered at the 70th Venice IFF (Venice Days) and won a Special Mention from “Europa Cinemas” Label and a Fedeora Award for Best Director of a Debut Film. His second feature Ága (2018) closed the official competition at the Berlinale and received more than 40 awards around the world, including for the Best Film at Fajr IFF, Sarajevo IFF, Chukotka IAFF, International Critics’ Week at Cairo IFF; Award for Best Director at Eurasia IFF; Special Jury Prize at Goa IFF, etc. Milko Lazarov is the President of the Bulgarian Union of Filmmakers.

Oleg Boretsky

PhD, Associate Professor of Al Farabi State University, film critic and author; host of the Filmclub program on STV television channel and of the Kino Blues program on Radio Klassika; creator of the special project Oleg Boretsky Film Club based at the Caesar cinema, whose goal it is “to turn cinema not for everyone into cinema for everyone and everybody”. Author of numerous articles on national and international cinema, as well as scholarly publications in the field of philosophy, cultural studies and film art. Member of the Association of Film Critics of Kazakhstan.

Ali Khamraev
Chairman of the jury:

Born in Tashkent (Uzbek SSR) in 1937. Graduated from the Directing Department of the Film Institute VGIK (1961). From 1961 to 2020 he directed 20 feature and about 40 documentary and television films. He is best known for such films as The Seventh Bullet, The Bodyguard, A Hot Summer in Kabul. As a representative of auteur cinema, Ali Khamraev works in diverse genres: drama, parable, comedy, adventure film, and musical. His film Triptych received the Grand Prix of the San Remo Film Festival (1980) and The Man who Follows the Birds was given the prize for best direction “Silver Peacock” at New-Delhi IFF (1976). In 2001 his film Bo Ba Bu (Uzbekistan / Italy / France) won the Grand Prix at Faces of Love IFF (Moscow).

Ernest Abdyjaparov

Born in Frunze, Kyrgyz SSR, in 1961. Graduated from the Pedagogical Institute of Russian Language and Literature in Frunze (1983). Over the years, he has held responsible positions at Kyrgyzfilm Studio, at the “Umai” Creative Youth Foundation, and the Union of Cinematographers of Kyrgyzstan. Since 1999 he has headed his own studio. He has written 30 screenplays, directed 14 feature films, and composed the music for nine films. His most famous films are Sparrow (1994), Saratan (2004), Pure Coolness (2007), Taxi and Telephone (2013), Sayakbay. Homer of the 20th Century (2017), Sagynbay Manaschy (2022); they received numerous awards at international festivals.

Sergey Dvortsevoy

Born in Shymkent in 1962. Started his career in aviation, before graduating from the department of non-fiction film at the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors in Moscow. His documentary films received a number of international awards. His fiction film debut, Tulpan (2008), won the award of the Un Certain Regard program in Cannes, as well as numerous main prizes of international film festivals. In 2018, Ayka screened in the main competition in Cannes, and lead actress Samal Eslyamova received the Best Actress award. The film was shortlisted for an Oscar. Since 2019, he has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rusudan Glurjidze

Born in Tbilisi. Graduated from the directing and scriptwriting department of Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film University (Giorgi Shengelaia’s workshop). Her directorial feature debut, House of Others (2016) received the Sputnik Award for Best First Feature from the International Press Academy and was selected as Georgia’s entry for the Academy Awards in 2017. Among the film’s awards are main prizes at the film festivals of Karlovy Vary, Bergen, Tbilisi, Beijing, at Eurasia IFF, as well as the NIKA Award for Best Film of CIS and Baltic States. In 2017, Sydney Film Festival named her among the ten female European directors on their watchlist. She has been a jury member of several film festivals.

Talgat Temenov

Born in the village Malybai in Alma-Ata District in 1954. Graduated from the Theatre Department of Kurmangazy State Conservatory (Alma-Ata) and the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Filmmakers (Moscow, 1986). Directed and scripted numerous plays and films, including A Wolf Cub Among People (1998), Running Target (1991), Little Prince of the Big City (2016). Served as Dean of the Zhurgenov State Institute of Theatre and Cinema, and Artistic Director of Kazakhfilm Studio. Since 2014 he has been the Artistic Director of the Kuanyshbayev State Academic Music and Drama Theatre (Astana). Recipient of state awards, People’s Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Professor.

Nada Azhari-Gillon

Syrian French critic. Her main sphere of interest is in French, Arab and Asian cinema. She collaborates with such prestigious Arab publications as Al Jazeera Documentary and Al-Araby Al-Jadid newspaper. She is a member of FIPRESCI, NETPAC, Union des Journalistes de Cinéma (UJC) and the Académie des Lumières in France. As a journalist, she covers film festivals and has served on several international juries.

Sharofat Arabova

Graduated from the Cultural Studies department of the Russian-Tajik (Slavic) University (2006), and from the Directing Department of the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune (2013), as well as the programme of the Asian Film Academy in Busan (AFA), and Berlinale Talents. She holds a PhD, and is a member of the Filmmakers’ Union of Tajikistan and of NETPAC. She has served on numerous international juries.

Sultan Usuvaliev

Born in Frunze (Kyrgyz SSR) in 1986. Graduated from the Screenwriting and Film Studies Department of the Film Institute (VGIK) in Moscow (2013, postgraduate 2017). Film historian, PhD, with research interests in film history and history of film studies. Сhief editor of Film Sense magazine.