The 14th Kazan Muslim Film Festival is Open: Opening Ceremony and Red Carpet
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The 14th Kazan Muslim Film Festival is Open: Opening Ceremony and Red Carpet

6 September 2018

On September 4, the opening ceremony of the 14th Kazan International Muslim Film Festival was held in the Pyramid Complex. The evening traditionally began with red carpet attended by participants, jury members and honoured guests of the festival.


The hosts of the opening ceremony, a Tatar actor Iskander Khayrullin and a Russian actress, director and singer Natalia Gromushkina announced that this year, the selection committee of the festival received a record number of 967 entries from 56 countries. They also presented the presented 10 nominations of the competition programme of the 14th edition.

The Chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan Farid Mukhametshin on behalf of the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov welcomed the quests of the ceremony. ‘Kazan has once again become a centre of intersection of world cultural and spiritual traditions, a point of attraction for professionals and film lovers, while the geographical scope of the festival, the number of its participants and quality is growing every year. I am sure that each of you will find something close to your interests and together we will enjoy cinema arts reflecting continuing values of tolerance and humanism’, said Farid Mukhametshin.


Mintimer Shaimiev, the State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan, a UNESCO Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue) and Irina Bokova (former Director General of UNESCO) visiting Kazan within the framework of the Kazan Forum on Intercultural Dialogue also welcomed the quests of the Kazan Muslim Film Festival. ‘I knew about historic Tatarstan before, but today I have learned about modern region. This festival gives a good platform for communication for film makers. Its 14-year story reflects its huge success. It proves that there is tolerance and communication in Muslim world. It is not an accident that the festival is opened today and the Kazan Forum on Intercultural Dialogue is starting tomorrow. I think Kazan is the most suitable location for both of the events. I am happy to enjoy this centre of tolerance and intercultural dialogue’, said Irina Bokova.

Mintimer Shaimiev shared his memories on visiting Cannes Film Festival many years ago: ‘I thought, if there a film festival running in Cannes, why should not we establish one in Kazan? The first festival brought 12 participating countries, while this year we are having 56 countries. It is a victory!’ said the State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan. ‘Muslim World is very diverse and sometimes restless... It is important to practice intercultural dialogue, and what is the most importantly is to understand each other. We live together and to make this livelihood of different cultures together, we need to find and use every possible tools. One of such tools is definitely arts. I wish everyone success, creative victories, and most importantly to live with humanity aspirations!’ added the State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan.


Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin (the President of the Kazan Muslim Film Festival), the Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation) addressed the participants and guests of the festival with a traditional Muslim greeting. He shared his memories of the origins of the festival: ‘I remember we were planning to create an important and unique event dedicated to the millennium anniversary of the city of Kazan’, he said. Ravil Gaynutdin supported Mintimer Shaimiev, noting that Islam and Muslims could be presented from a negative side sometimes. ‘We always justify that Islam is a religion of peace, kindness, mutual understanding and cooperation. We once realized that the language of art, including cinematography, could show the spirit of Islam, its openness and tolerance. We understood that if we create a dialogue, there will be trust, stability and peace’ said Ravil Gaynutdin said and thanked Mintimer Shaimiev, the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and the government of the Republic as well as all participants of the festival.


A Russian singer, a UNESCO Artists for Peace and an ambassador of 2018 World Cup Zara together with La Primavera orchestra with Rustem Abyazov as well as Miras Ensemble performed several songs. ‘Cinema arts and music could contribute to the prosperity of societies’, said the singer.


The long-awaited moment for the guests of the evening was the appearance on the stage of an honorary participant of the festival, a Russian actor Emmanuil Vitorgan, who also sang a song. ‘It is hardly possible to think up kinder event, when people all around the world are brought together in one event. Once again I would like to express my huge gratitude for inviting me. I hope with more film produced supporting this idea, the more we understand and support each other’ said Emmanuil Vitorgan.


A director Anuar Smain and actors Amina Zhaman and Sean Stone presented Battle Field, their film participating in the out-of-competition programme of the festival. Sean Stone shared his impressions on Kazan, while Amina Zhaman noted that it is a great honour for the film crew to present their film at such a prestigious international film festival in Russia. ‘How wonderful that so many people of different countries and cultural backgrounds and the same passion could be together in one place’, said Anuar Smain.


Marat Basharov (a Russian actor) invited to watch Mullah, a film directed by Ramil Fazliev and Amir Galiaskarov, in which he played one of the main characters. ‘I have stood on this stage several times, but today it is the first time when I am here as a participant of the festival’ told the actor before reciting a poem by Hazrat Renat Abanov.


The members of Turkish delegation expressed their gratitude to the organizing team of the festival. ‘Tomorrow, we are signing the cooperation agreement between the Kazan Muslim Film Festival and Turkic World Istanbul Documentary Film Festival.

An honorary guest of the festival, a Russian actress Irina Alferova welcoming the participants of the festival mentioned that ‘Cinematography is a complicated business, where everyone has different views to the world, but would like to make the world better. I am sure that after watching the films participating in the festival, one will receive this message’.


The members of the jury headed by a Turkmen ad Soviet actress Mayа-Gozel Aimedova also welcomed the guests of the event: ‘I was in Kazan four years ago and remembering my visit to the first stone mosque of Kazan, which is called Mardzhani Mosque. It is miracle that I am re-visiting the city again in the year of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mardzhani’, said Maya Aimedova and promised on behalf of all members of the jury to select the best films of the festival. An Azerbaijani director and a jury member of the festival Oktay Mirkasim noted with a joke that the emancipation of Muslim women at the festival has reached its peak: it is the fist time, when a Muslim film festival jury is headed by a woman.


A special attention at the opening ceremony was also paid to the memory of a famous Russian and Kyrgyz writer with Tatar roots Chingiz Aitmatov. The 90th anniversary of the birth of the famous writer is reflect via a special parallel program of the festival on the Retrospective of films inspired by the works of Chingiz Aitmatov. A guest of the festival, Assol Moldokmatova, a Kyrgyz TV presenter and actress, spoke about the heritage of the writer: ‘Chingiz Aitmatov, a legendary and epochal personality, he gave the world many works, over 50 of them were filmed’. She also recited Crying for Genghis poem.


The evening ended with a screening of Sayakbay, the opening film of the 14th edition of the Kazan Muslim Film Festival. The film was presented by the director of the film and a member of the jury of the festival Ernest Abdyzhaparov. ‘It is a great honour for us to stand on this stage and present our film with one of its main character is our common idol Chingiz Aitmatov’, said Ernest Abdyzhaparov. The son of Chingiz Aitmatov, Eldar also starred in this film dedicated to the life and work of a legendary Kyrgyz poet Sayakbay Karalayev, who played his father.

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