Kazakhstan’s has announced the film “Stranger” (“Zhat”) by Yermek Tursunov as its official submission for the Academy Awards, which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. This is
not Tursunov’s first brush with Oscar, he was short-listed for Best Foreign Film with his nomadic-time drama “Kelin” in 2010– making it the furthest a
Kazakh film has ever made it in Oscar race. His previous film “Shal” (Old Man) was also selected as Kazakhstan’s official submission for the Academy Awards
“Stranger” is Tursunov’s sixth feature and it continues his cinematic exploration of Kazakh nomads eking out a living in the harsh steppes.
Here is the synopsis
(Yerzhan Nurymbet), is a young man who survived the famine of the 30s, Stalinist deportation and WWII by retreating in a cave to live off the land,
but finds himself battling society in a bid to retain his freedom. His secluded and nomadic life has not prepared him for the dramatic developments in his
Soviet-era community, even though he tries his best to connect with the villagers. Produced by Kanat Torebay for Tursunov Film, “Stranger” is based on a
screenplay that Tursunov wrote while studying at Moscow’s leading film school VGIK.
Yermek Tursunov has represented Kazakhstan in two previous occasions at the Academy Awards. First with the film “Kelin,” which follows a young bride as she’s taken into the yurt of a young shepherd, played by “Stranger” lead actor
Yerzhan Nurymbet in ancient nomadic times. After its TIFF international premiere, “Kelin” went on to screen in Busan, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara and
Locarno, among many other festivals.
in 2013 his film Shal” (Old Man) was submitted as the country’s official entry. The film is loosely inspired by Hemingway’s
The Old Man And The Sea, and depicts life on the modern-day steppes, with an old man trying to herd his sheep across the vast expanse. Interference from city
‘hunters’ unmoors his well-developed instinct as they evoke the wrath of the local wolves. “Shal” also premiered at TIFF, in 2012.
Yermek Tursunov was born in 1961 in Kazakhstan. He is a novelist, writer and film director. A graduate from the Faculty of Journalism of Kazakh National
University, Tursunov written several novels. He won the Grand Prix in Russia’s screenwriting competition, the Golden Star
prize for his script “Tell Me Who is Your Friend” (Russia), Kazakhstan’s National Kulager Prize for Best Film in 2010 for “Kelin” and Best Director in 2012