American Film Showcase in Kazakhstan

The U.S. Mission in Kazakhstan is pleased to announce the American Film Showcase Central Asia will visit Kazakhstan October 23-November 5.  As part of this festival, a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, two renowned American filmmakers will visit five cities in Kazakhstan and later travel to Turkmenistan.

The festival will begin on Saturday, October 25, with a grand opening at the KazMediaCenter.  A red-carpet reception in honor of the two visiting American filmmakers will precede a screening of the filmsBuck and Urban Rez.  Public screening of these films, along with the remaining three films in the showcase, will continue in Astana October 25, in Kostanay October 26 and 27, in Karaganda October 28-30, in Almaty October 31-November 2, and in Shymkent November 3-4.

The American Film Showcase Central Asia features five award-winning documentary films about American culture, particularly of the western United States and American Indians.

  • Buck tells the true story of an American cowboy-sage for whom horses are a mirror to the human soul.
  • Urban Rez documents the voluntary resettlement of Native American peoples, many of them traditionally nomadic, from government reservations to 20th-century cities.
  • City Dark explores the impact of light pollution on the global environment.
  • The Medicine Game shares the inspiring story of two Onondaga brothers who are determined to become professional athletes in the sport their ancestors invented as a sacred ritual.
  • Uranium Drive-In follows a small community in Colorado as it grapples with the legacy and consequences of a nuclear fuel mill on its soil.

These films have been selected by U.S. cultural attachés exclusively for the American Film Showcase Central Asia.  They have not been shown as a group before.

Andrea Meditch, of Michigan State University and formerly of Discovery Communications, is the executive producer of Buck, which won awards at Sundance Film Festival and Crossroads Film Festival, and was featured at SXSW.  She also produced the Academy Award-winning Man on Wire, the Oscar-nominated Encounters at the End of the World, the Emmy-nominated The Flight That Fought Back, and numerous other films honored at Sundance.

Lisa Olken, of Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Service based in Denver, Colorado, is the director of the Heartland Chapter Emmy Award-winningUrban Rez, among other films on American Indians and western arts and culture.  Her many honors include 27 Regional Emmy Awards, three CINE Golden Eagles, and two Wrangler Western Heritage Awards, the highest honor for artistic work related to the culture of the American West.

The U.S. Mission expresses gratitude for the support of its sponsors and partners in bringing this program to Kazakhstan, including the KazMediaCenter, Chevron Corporation, Hilton Garden Inn Astana, Hewlett-Packard Company, Shabyt Kazakh National University of Arts, Turan University, South Kazakhstan National University, Karaganda State University, Karaganda City Akimat, Kostanay City Akimat, Educational-Scientific Fund “Synergy,” Arman Cinema Kostanay, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.