It may seem remarkable that Kazakhstan, a country of nomads for millenia, should today have a vibrant film culture. Filmmaking in Kazakhstan has come a long way since the cinematic production began there in Soviet times. This festival highlights some of its new voices. The films span an array of identities and storytelling modes from this country, distinctive for the diversity and harmony of both its population and its landscape, and also for its positive and growing engagement with the world. Flowers of the Steppe presents recent titles that offer different visions of modern Kazakhstan and the traditions of its historic past.
Although a major early milestone for cinema in Kazakhstan was the making of Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible during World War II, home-grown filmmaking really came to international attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the so-called Kazakh New Wave. Since then, the post-Soviet era has witnessed a broadening of cinematic language and narratives, as well as growing international collaborations, especially, with the US and France. Several of the films showcased in Flower of the Steppes engage, in one way or another, with American culture and provide a context for dialogue between the US and Kazakhstan.
Co-presented with the Ballets Russes Cultural Partnership and the Freer Gallery, Washington, and the Goethe Institut, Washington. With additional support from KazakhFilm Studios.