Part of Style.Uz Art Week, the Tashkent International Film Forum ‘Golden Guepard’ is one of the most high-profile cultural events in Central Asia. The Art Week also includes the Tashkent International Biennale of Contemporary Art and the International Theatre Festival ‘Theatre.Uz,’ all contributing to the Uzbek capital’s burgeoning success as a centre for the arts in the region.
The ‘Golden Guepard’ Film Forum was launched in 2011 thanks to the initiative of Professor Gulnara Karimova, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan Foundation. It has since become an annual event organised jointly with the Uzbekkino National Agency.
As a cross-cultural platform where East and West meet, the Film Forum has a wide geographical coverage and ambitious goals. Its motto is ‘Civilisations of the twenty-first century – dialogue of cultures,’ but the slogan changes in view of the amplitude of world cinematography, which includes commercial films for a wide range of audiences, mainstream and art-house. In 2011 and 2012, the slogan was ‘Human stories: the philosophy of the senses.’ This year it is Per Speculum Et In Aenigmate, which means ‘In a Mirror and Enigma,’ thus recognising the aesthetics of realism in cinematography, while accepting metaphorical movies.
This year the Film Forum will be held from 19 to 24 October 2013. The range of films participating in the contest will cover a huge geographical area, including Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, China, Turkey, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea.
An international jury evaluates the films, which comprises prominent national and foreign filmmakers who will determine the winners by a secret ballot. Roman Polanski and the Taviani brothers are also expected to contribute to the event. Full-length, short and animated films are all included in the Film Forum.
Workshops and creative meetings will also be conducted between Uzbek students and foreign filmmakers. This year, there will even be master classes for young directors and cameramen in specially equipped laboratories. For the second year in a row, a scientific conference will be held as part of the Forum entitled ‘National Cinema in a Globalised World’.
Nik Powell, Director of the UK’s National Film and Television School, was the Chair of last year’s jury. He has made significant contributions to the event, which attracted a number of outstanding films that helped to develop movie language and communicate trends in global cinematography. He says: ‘It was a thoughtful, diverse and interesting selection of films. I think the films reflected their own cultures and communicated the life and challenges faced by people in many different circumstances, countries and traditions.’
The Film Forum inspires a dialogue and interaction between Western cinematography as a source of democratic values, and Oriental cinematography reflecting a deep philosophy of feeling and ethical ideas. According to Powell, ‘the themes addressed in the films reflected both the oppression of societies that are not free and the challenges faced by those that are free or moving towards freedom.’
Since the Film Forum aims to boost public interest in cinematography as a means of conserving national cultures and universal values, as well as popularisation of national cinematography, Powell suggests that British cinematography can offer examples of how themes and values of any society can be examined in an entertaining but also challenging way.
In his other role as the Deputy Chair of the European Film Academy, Powell welcomes holding international festivals, conferences and other cultural activities in Uzbekistan, which creates a good platform to promote the rich heritage of the country to the world audience: ‘I saw many examples of a lively and fascinating Uzbek culture – both contemporary and traditional – on my visit to Tashkent, and appreciate the attention and care rendered to me by the organisers.’
From left to right: Director General of Tashkent International Film Forum ‘Golden Guepard’ Akbar Khakimov; Director of the UK’s National Film and Television School Nik Powell; Chair of Board of Trustees of the Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan Foundation Professor Gulnara Karimova and German Director and cameraman Thomas Mauh