Diary 1 of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab:
Reviewing Applications and Selecting Participants

28 June 2021

We are launching a series of articles about the work of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab (CASL) organised by the UNESCO Office in Almaty as part of the "Strengthening Film Industries in Central Asia" project with the support of the government of the Republic of Korea. In this series of articles, we want to talk in more detail about the people directly involved in the project, as well as about how the training process goes.

To begin, it should be noted that the very idea of training scriptwriters appeared at the end of 2020 as a result of a series of studies on the state of affairs of the film industries in Central Asian countries. These studies showed that this profession is not taught in any of the higher education systems in the countries of the region.

After the announcement of the recruitment of trainers and participants for the CASL project, 4 local trainers and one international project trainer were selected first. This solid team included Dmitri Popov, a media design professor from Germany with extensive teaching experience in various disciplines, including scriptwriting, Saodat Ismailova, an independent filmmaker and artist from Uzbekistan, who has participated in similar international labs, Iskandar Usmonov, a well-known scriptwriter from Tajikistan, as well as prominent filmmakers Erke Dzhumakmatova from Kyrgyzstan and Yulia Levitskaya from Kazakhstan, who have extensive experience in the industry, including work as scriptwriters and producers.

The project trainers then selected 24 participants for the project, 23 of whom are currently continuing their studies. Among them, there are filmmakers who prefer to write their own film scripts, as well as young professionals with experience in theatre drama, and those who do not yet have any experience of working in the film industry.

In the end, we asked Saodat Ismailova, an independent filmmaker and trainer representing the Republic of Uzbekistan, to share her impressions of the project's students.

CASL is a critically necessary and important project for the development of cinema in Central Asia. For me, it is a unique and very interesting experience to get to know and understand the creative potential of the region, through which it is possible to approximately imagine the next decade of the film industry. Not only were the Kazakh participants more active in submitting papers, but also in the final number of participants; they also represented a variety of forms, genres and themes in the lab. The themes of the participants from Kyrgyzstan are characterised by their sensitivity and their attachment to their roots and the land. Unfortunately, it turned out that Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are each represented by one contestant. Despite the sensitive theme of emigration, the Uzbek project is built on the unexpected character of a girl. The Tajik project dealt with the theme of young people growing up in the city. It is also encouraging to see a large number of talented and creative young female participants. As a result, it is a dynamic and diverse mosaic that, if properly developed and supported, provides an optimistic view of the young filmmakers of the region.

Saodat Ismailova, a trainer representing Uzbekistan.

In the near future, the UNESCO Almaty Office will continue to publish the diaries of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab.

Project Trainers;
Initial Project Participants.

* picture in the beginning of the article was taken from the presentation of Yu. Levitskaya.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/diary-1-of-the-central-asian-scriptwriting-lab-br-reviewing-applications-and-selecting