Oscars: Kazakhstan Selects 'Amanat' for Foreign-Language Category

Kazakh Oscar submitted film -Amanat - Still 1 -  H 2016
Courtesy of Arman Asenov

Satybaldy Narymbetov's national epic spans three different eras across two centuries.

Kazakhstan has submitted Satybaldy Narymbetov's historic drama Amanat to the Oscars in the best foreign-language film category.

A story that spans three periods in Kazakh history, it links mid 19th century struggles against the Russians to two 20th century episodes revolving around the fate of former political prisoner Ermukhan Bekmakhanov, who was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for writing historical books about Kazakh national hero Kenesary Kasymov and his national liberation movement.

Kazakhstan's annual international film festival, Eurasia, the 12th edition of which closes Friday in Almaty, where the film is screening in a regional section, noted the film brings to life "the forgotten names of the true sons of the Kazakh people…designating the true parameters of the spiritual power of the people."

Amanat premiered in Kazakhstan in May and was produced by Arman Asenov and Kazakhfilm Studios.

Kazakhstan produces around 15 features a year. Last year, 344 features were released across the country's 89 cinemas and 246 screens, most of them Hollywood and international productions. Box-office receipts last year were $47 million, with domestic films accounting for $3.3 million of that, according to figures released earlier this week at the Eurasia IFF's industry sidebar Eurasia Spotlight.

Kazakhstan first submitted a film to the Oscars in 1992 and has done so annually since 2006. Sergei Bodrov's Mongol made the shortlist in 2007, making it the only Central Asian country so far to have been nominated for a foreign-language Oscar.