“Films reveal social problems and try to find ways to solve them”: the thematic emphasis of the KIMFF competition program
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“Films reveal social problems and try to find ways to solve them”: the thematic emphasis of the KIMFF competition program

7 July 2022

Earlier this month the competition program of the XVIII Kazan International Muslim Film Festival was announced. According Svetlana Slapke, the Selection Committee member, the range of films presented differs by its geographical, religious and cultural diversity.

Taking into consideration the focus of the festival on the dialogue of cultures, the Committee included films representing artistic value and meeting the criteria of high-quality cinematography into the competition program. This year’s selection differs by the fact that films different in their form and content, to this or that extent interact with each other. Thus, the films of the competition program of the XVIII Kazan International Muslim Film Festival thematically correspond to the spirit of the project and embody the principles of humanism and tolerance.

For instance, in the “full-length documentary films” nomination, the films first and foremost, are arranged around the fate of a human and his search for his own place in the world. “At the same time the human’s place is considered from different approaches and positions”, emphasized Nina Kochelyaeva, a member of the Selection Committee.

Thus, a deep devotion to the traditions is considered by the Israeli “Razzouk Tattoo” about the Copts family, Christians by religion, ethnical minority living in Jerusalem. “Ivan’s Ladder” tells about the culture of old believers of Transbaikalia, which is transferred from one generation to another. “Yashmagh” is a full study of the Turkmen community in Iran and the woman’s position in the traditional communities. “I'm not Lakit” by Maria Surae tells about a young man with no citizenship, who cannot claim civil rights in Lebanon. “Hatibondhu - friends of elephant” by Indian filmmaker Kripal Kalita is devoted to the protection of animals.

Three films: “Monir” by Bangladeshi director Ashique Mostafa, Indonezian “The Tone Wheels” by Yuda Kurniawan and “Gabdrahman” by Tatarstan director Marsel Makhmutov are dedicated to various artistic practices and processes.

One more topic that unites human research in different circumstances is the lives of people, who are on the verge of death. Two films in the competition program are devoted to this – “Forgotten Dreams” by Marwa El Sharkawy from Egypt, which tells about a person with a severe diagnosis and his struggle with it, and “Kodokushi” by Ensar Altay – the most scrupulous investigation, representing a rare view of the Turkish director on one of the phenomena of Japanese social life.

The competition program of short-length documentaries is also represented by a great variety of themes. Among them we can distinguish a unit, devoted to female issues, which is heard in several films – “Rahma” by Mohamed Al Hamidi (Egypt), “Nomad girl” by Rohollah Akbari (Iran), “Life” by Muhammed Emin Demiral (Turkey) and “The Caring Women of Udora” by Anna Koryakovtseva (Russia).

The theme of loneliness and restlessness is visualized in “Life without spring” by Shokir Kholikov (Uzbekistan) and “Sosnovyi spring” by Bulat Minkin (Tatarstan).

“Genereally, all documentaries study the human’s world, the world of his spiritual traditions and searches”, Nina Kochelyaeva resumed.

The main topic of this year’s “feature short film” nomination one can call Islam and its integration into the life and traditions of Muslims through Sharia law and national traditions. “A half of films selected are directly or indirectly devoted to this”, Svetlana Slapke pointed.

So, “Boars” (Iran) tells about the implementation of Sharia law and its unpredictable consequences in the conditions of patriarchal life in an Iranian village. In “Precious Photo” (Egypt) the interaction and interdependence of the honor of the girl and a family among Muslims is manifested. In short film “Trumpets in the Sky” (Palestine, Lebanon, France, Belgium) it is told about early arranged marriages, still existing in many Muslim countries, and the Tatar film “Galiyabanu” by Rifat Mindubaev corresponds to the latter: they are trying to marry a girl off against her will. To the theme of ethnic identity and preserving of spiritual traditions, continuity and fidelity to the Uighur ancestors’ memory “Rukh” (Kazakhstan) is dedicated.

“Little brother of angels” (the Republic of Tajikistan) is a bit separate from others. It is marked by an unexpected theme, its authenticity, organic and thrilling play of the main role performer.

According to Svetlana Slapke, the films of the short feature film competition represent a mosaic of an everyday life of people, which reflects spiritual values, social and religious contradictions of different societies.

Timur Shaihullin, a member of the Selection Committee, also noticed the cultural potential of films, reflecting the traditions and customs of different nations, “Films not only reveal the social problems of society, but to some extent try to find the ways to solve them”, he believes.

We remind you that according to the Regulations, the competition program consists of 10 films in each nomination – a competition of feature full-length and short, documentary full-length and short films, as well as a national competition. Totally 625 applications from 44 countries of the world were registered this year.


The XVIII Kazan International Muslim Film Festival will take place from September 7 to 11 with the support of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and in the partnership with the strategic vision group “Russia – Islamic world”.

The founders of the festival are the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Centralized Muslim Religious Organization Council of Muftis of Russia, the Executive Committee of municipality of Kazan. The festival is organized by the State budgetary institution of culture of the Republic of Tatarstan “Tatarkino” together with the Regional department of All-Russian public organization “Cinematographers Union of the Russian Federation” of the Republic of Tatarstan.

During its existence the festival has gained the status of a prestigious forum of cinematographers, has become an essential attribute of the cultural life of Kazan, an event which contributes to strengthening the image of Kazan as the cultural capital. Kazan International Muslim Film Festival is held under the motto “Through the dialogue of cultures – to the culture of dialogue”.