Kazakhstan: Interview with Akhan Satayev, Film Director

Tomorrow the movie theatres of Kazakhstan and Russia will start shows of “Racketeer”, one of the first Kazakhstani commercial film-making experiences. The audience is invited to learn the biographical story of a young boxer from Almaty, who decided to fight for a better life with his own fists in uneasy 1990s, but had to pay a high price for this decision later on. Below is the (Neweurasia presents) interview with the director and producer of the film Akhan Satayev, who has been known earlier for his works in the sphere of video-advertising.

The history of world cinematograph features many examples of highly successful debuts of clip-makers. What are your expectations for the box-office? Are you happy with the result?

Yes, I think that production of advertisements, which we are doing already for 10 years, served as a good school for us. It was very comfortable to make the movie with the same team. I really hope that box-offices will turn out to be okay (if pirates are not going to spoil everything). And, yes, we are 99 per cent happy with the outcome!

What are the further plans of your company Satai-Film? Don’t you want to make a movie about today’s crafty techniques of business-making, like raider attacks? Try yourself in other genres? Or all further perspectives will depend on successfulness of the “Racketeer”?

Certainly, we want to move ahead, and we do have plans for the future, but they all seriously depend on how successful the first film will be. If everything goes well, we would like to try different genres. The main thing here is a good script.

The Kazakh cinematograph has been known earlier for its art-house and new-wave movies. In all sincerity, what do you think about the new trend, set by your film – is it a step forward for the domestic film industry and its future, or it is step backwards?

I am convinced that any attempt to make a commercial project in our cinematograph is a step forward. If we are not going to do it, then we will never have a good, sound and competitive commercial movie product.

A replica of the Russian cinematographic bandit ballads “Brigada” and “Bumer”, adapted to Kazakhstan, with the participation of Vladimir Vdovichenkov, an actor who made his name on such kind of movies, – it’s all looks commercially flawless. Aren’t you afraid that your message “Evil gives birth to evil and always comes to a bad end” may miss the minds of teenagers, who can capture only the image of romantic villains?

Yes, involvement of Vladimir Vdovichenkov in our movie added up a commercial value to the project. Besides, he fits perfectly in his role of the criminal kingpin from Moscow. As for your question, I can assure – in spite of the fact that the film is about criminals, we by no means are romanticizing the bandits. And we showed it very clearly.


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