The Central Asian cinema industry has a history of about 100 years and while being at different degrees of development today, countries in the regions find themselves at an interesting point of transition. Film and cinema production was promoted and supported by the Soviet Union until the 1990s. But with the Union’s collapse, and the ensuing lack of financial support it had previously provided, the state of the film industries of Central Asia deteriorated rapidly. But today, 30 years later, all Central Asian countries are once again witnessing a rise in cinematography and film.
For the past years, UNESCO has been engaged in backing the development of the creative industries in Central Asia by supporting, inter alia, the International Jazz Festival in Uzbekistan, promoting and building capacities of the film industry in Uzbekistan with funding from the Korean Funds in Trust (K-FIT), by partnering with the Almaty Film Festival in Kazakhstan, and by supporting digital arts for young women in Tajikistan.
This project aims to build on these experiences and launch a more comprehensive programme in support of the film industries in Central Asia. In particular, the project is building on the impact and results of a K-FIT funded project conducted in Uzbekistan in 2017-2018, which helped mobilize film professionals, conduct training workshops for young local filmmakers, producers and screenwriters, support documentary film development, organize master-classes on script writing and film production, and enhance international promotion schemes.
The present broader and more integrated project will use existing networks and platforms to strengthen the film industry in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, by building the capacities of cinematographers, organizing promotional activities, and through this, enhancing regional and international cooperation.
The project aims to strengthen national capacities and regional networking opportunities to develop the cultural and creative industries (CCI), in particular the film industry, in Central Asia and raise awareness of the importance of CCI for sustainable development
At this stage, a call for Individual Experts to undertake the first activity, a Regional Assessment of the State of Affairs of the Film Industries and Related Legislations in four Central Asian Countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), has been launched.
Furthermore, in order to provide a platform for an exchange of views and good practices, as well as to identify the ways to support the culture sector and the creative industries in Central Asia, a total of four online debates have been organised by the UNESCO Almaty office in the framework of the ResiliArt movement and implementation of the project “Strengthening Film Industries in Central Asia” financed by the government of the Republic of Korea.
An overall assessment of State of Affairs of the Film Industries and Related Legislations in four Central Asian Countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) will be conducted between the 23 November 2020 – 23 January 2021.
This assessment will comprise of an extensive mapping and overall regional assessment of the film industries and related legislations in Central Asia, identifying gaps and opportunities, and developing recommendations on policies and measures for further development of this sector in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The assessment will pay particular attention to the potential for sub-regional cooperation for the promotion of women in the industry.
In relation to this overall assessment, a sub-regional meeting will be held to discuss the findings and recommendations with representatives of the Ministries of Culture, film industries, international and national experts of the four countries.
On the basis of the overall assessment, capacity-building activities will be organized, including trainings, master classes and conferences.
Young cinematographers will be targeted as participants to stimulate film-production in Central Asia, including in the genres that are not currently prevalent, such as documentary and animated films. Efforts will also be taken to promote women in the Central Asian film industry. The exact focus areas of the trainings will be identified on the basis of the findings of the overall assessment and the ensuing discussions during the sub-regional meeting.
This project will draw on existing regional networks among film makers, producers and distributors and provide support to strengthen their collaboration to strengthen the overall film eco-system in the region. Furthermore, awareness-raising and promotional events will be organized to foster co-production and enhanced regional cooperation of cinematographers, and to promote the 2005 Convention. These initiatives will help promote the four countries’ film industries at the international level.