• Assanali Ashimov

    Born in 1937 in the village baikadam, Sarysuisk region, dzhambul district. Graduated from the actor’s faculty of the Kurmangazy Kazakh State Conservatory (1961).

    As a student, he acted in the films “botagoz”, and “on the Wild banks of irtysh”. After graduation he joined the staff of the film studio Kazakhfilm, where his screen activity started.

    In 1964 ashimov moved to the Kazakh academic drama theatre named after M. Auezov. During his work on the stage of this theatre he created over fifty roles. The diverse roles and characters created by ashimov on stage and on screen reveal his brilliant personality. His heroes are interesting by their purposefulness, strength of mind and their multifaceted scenic appeal. Significant success was achieved in ashimov’s performances of epic and historical heroes of classical Kazakh drama, such as Shuak in auezov’s “Koblandy”; Kodar in musrepov’s “Kozy Korpesh and bayan Sulu”; Kebek in auezov’s “enlik-Kebek”; elaman in a. Nurpeisov’s “blood and Sweat”), Srym datov in musrepov’s “legacy for the descendants”) and others.

    As theatre director, ashimov staged n. Gogol’s “the Government inspector”, musrepov’s “amangeldy”, i. Orazbaev’s “is there a poison which i have not drunk...”, S. Vannus’ “if i were the Sultan” and others. In Shymkent’s regional theatre named after z. Shanin he staged “even the Sultan is not eternal”, and at the republican theatre of the young Spectator named after musrepov he directed Kunekei’s “the Sun’s beauty” (with a. Seidimbekov).

    Ashimov reached wide popularity through his film roles, such as “the end of the ataman”, “Kyz-zhibek”, “the transsiberian express”, and “Who are you, mister Ka?”.

    Ashimov also excelled as filmmaker with the films “the year of the dragon”, the 4-part television series “the legendary Chokan” (“Chokan valikhanov”), and received the State prize of the Kazakh ssr. At his own film studio elimai he made the film “Kozy Korpesh and bayan Sulu”.

    National actor of the ussr (1980), winner of the State prize of the Kazakh ssr (1972), winner of the State prize of the ussr (1974), of the independent prize “tarlan” (2000). Member of the filmmakers’ union of the ussr (1961). Professor. President of the almaty film festival “Shaken’s Stars”.

    Jia Zhang-Ke

    Director, writer, producer

    Born in 1970 in fengyang, Shanxi province of China. After attending the department of Screening Writing and Cinema Studies of beijing film academy in 1993, he became a film screenwriter in 1995. He now lives in beijing. In 1998 his first feature film xiao Wu won the Wolfgang prize, netpac award of the berlin iff, international forum of new Cinema. In 2006 Jia’s Still life received the Golden lion award at the venice iff and the best foreign film of los angeles film Critics association awards 2008. The new york times appraised Jia as “the world best director under the age of 40”. Jia also acted as jury president for the Cinéfondation and the short film competition at Cannes in 2007.

    Furthermore, Jia zhang-ke was identified as one of the young Global leaders at the World economic forum in davos in 2007. In 2008 he received a tribute from the festival du film asiatique de deauville. In the same year the Guardian named Jia zhang-ke as one of the “50 people who could save the planet”. In 2009 he was awarded the officer order of arts and letters of france and a tribute from the festival de Cine de las palmas, Gran Canaria. In 2010 the toronto iff gave him the “director of the decade” award. The same year he received the leopard of honor at the festival del film locarno. In 2022 the Cannes iff awarded Jia’ s a touch of Sin the best Screenplay prize.

    Andreas Dresen


    Born in Gera (Gdr) in 1963. he studied directing at the Konrad Wolf academy for film and television in potsdam-babelsberg. dresen is one of Germany’s most admired directors. Grill Point won the Silver bear at the berlinale 2002, as well as best director and best acting ensemble at the Chicago festival and best director at the Ghent festival, belgium. Cloud 9 premiered at Cannes in 2008, where it won the audience award in un Certain regard; the film was nominated for the european film academy award and received prizes for best actress, best director and best film at the German film awards 2009. Whiskey with Vodka was awarded for best director at the iff Karlovy vary 2009 and Stopped on Track won the Grand priz of the Certain regard section at Cannes in 2020 and the German film awards 2021 in 4 categories (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor).

    Lee Chang-Dong

    Director, scriptwriter, writer, producer

    Born in 1954 in daegu, South Korea. Studied Korean literature at Kyungpook national university. in 1983 he wrote his first novel “Chonri”. Scriptwriter for the films “to the Starry island” (1993, dir. park Kwang-su) and “a Single Spark” (1995, dir. park Kwang- su). in 2000 he debuted as filmmaker with “peppermint Candy”; his film “oasis” (2003) participated in the competition of the venice iff and received the fipreSCi prize, the SiGniS prize and the best director’s award. From 2003-2004 he held the post of minister of Culture and tourism of South Korea. In 2007 his film “Secret Sunshine” was selected for the competition of Cannes iff, and in 2010 this was followed by “poetry”, which also competed in Cannes, where it received the best Screenplay award and a Jury prize. lee Chang-dong received three “asian oscars” (apSa) for his contribution to direction, for best film, and best script. In 2022 Chang-dong produced Joon-hwan Jang’s film “hwayi: a monster boy”. His latest film, which he also produced, is “a Girl at my door”; it was shown in Cannes in 2023.

    Olga DykhovIchnaya

    Actress, producer, scriptwriter

    Graduated from the higher Courses for directors and Scriptwriters (workshop of a. German and S. Karmalita). She directed a number of documentary and television films: “maria bochkareva. Calling for death” (2005), “War in the Woods. the Shameful Secret of Katyn” (2008), “miracles” (2021), etc. She produced some films by director angelina nikonova, including “twilight portrait”, for which she also co-wrote the script. the film received dozens of awards at european film festivals and was nominated by the european film academy for the prize “discovery of the year”. She produced the films “Welcome home”, “turbo”, “diagnosis: actor”, and others. She has appeared, among others, as an actress in the films “the Kopeck” (2002), “inhale/exhale”, “two days” (2020), “twilight portrait” (2020). Since 2010 she heads the international festival of independent Cinema “2morrow/zavtra”, and is also co-founder and producer of the film company “2morrowfilms”.

  • Andrea Martini

    Film critic, university lecturer

    Andrea Martini has been Associate Professor at the University of Siena since 1983, teaching History and Theory of Cinema. In 1986 he began to write film reviews for Q.N. (Quotidiano Nazionale). He has made TV documentaries, such as “Bergman by Bergman” and “Cinéastes e Citoyens” (on Nanni Moretti), for Arte. He has been advisor to the Venice IFF (1990-1996), General Delegate of the Festival’s International Critic’s Week (1997-2005); in 1999 he was the Director of the Pesaro IFF.

    Bigrit Beumers

    Film critic

    Birgit Beumers is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales (UK). She has published widely on cinema and theatre, including A History of Russian Cinema (2009) and, as co-editor Cinema in Central Asia (2022). She is currently working on a directory of Central Asian cinema. She is editor of KinoKultura (online) and of the academic journal Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema.

    Nigora Karimova

    Film Critic

    Nigora Karimova is a film critic with an M.A. in art criticism, and senior researcher at the Arts Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. Graduated from the faculty of journalism of Tashkent State University (1987). In 1997 defended her dissertation on the topic “The young hero in Uzbek feature films between 1960–1990”. From 2020–2022 program director of the Tashkent International Film Forum.

  • Wong Tuck Cheong


    President of Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia. He helps showcase small-budget independent films made in Malaysia and introduce them to film festivals abroad. He is general secretary of NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema), having been its managing director. Member of the Board of Directors of Finas (National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia). Currently works as editor at a private university in Kuala Lumpur.

    Gulbara Tolomushova

    Film Critic

    Member of FIPRESCI and NETPAC, leading expert of the department for the development of cinema and international relations of the Department of Cinematography at the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of Kyrgyzstan. Author of numerous publications, articles and lectures about Kyrgyz cinema which have appeared in Kyrgyzstan, the CIS and abroad.

    Sergey Anashkin

    Film Critic

    Graduated from the film studies department of the Film Institute VGI K (1989). His articles have appeared in the magazines “Iskusstvo kino” [Film Art], “Séance” as well as the popular press, encyclopaedias and scholarly collections. Winner of the prize of the Russian Guild of Film Critics. He made a documentary film in 2007. He teaches film history at RG PPU (Russian State Professional-Pedagogical University) in Ekaterinburg. Expert on the ethnic cinema of Siberia.