We are happy to announce that this year marks the first time that we are organizing the AÝT Central Asia 2021 pitching session as part of Qara Film Festival, taking place online on 27 August 2021. The call for AÝT was open for filmmakers from Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, with projects at development or production stages.
THE PARTICIPATING PROJECTS
A summer morning. A guy walks along the streets of the courtyards of urban buildings with a cart full-loaded with hot milk corn. The main character of the film – Kairat, who at the age of 29 went from an orphanage to a mental hospital. He does not know how to read, but life has taught him to count money and sell corn quickly. Everyone can be a winner – believing is the key.
A river has its own life. She indifferently carries the melted waters of the Alatau glaciers to the hot sands of Kapchagay, not paying attention to what is happening around. Until one day in a dream, she feels human.

This hybrid documentary explores the path of one of the ordinary rivers of the Almaty region with a length of about one hundred and thirty kilometers. It features the smallest details and the most significant events of this journey from the point of view of the river itself, "through her eyes".
The film follows three women, survivors of rape, who fight to end the stigma towards victims of sexual assault in Kazakhstan. In a series of interviews with these three women, we find out what helps them move on and keep fighting the system - them up against the world. They are not afraid of condemnation or criticism by traditionalists; they are ready to change people's attitudes towards survivors of rape, even if that costs them their honor.
An elderly woman travels with her granddaughter from Kazakhstan to Poland to the grave of her father, who died in 1944, when she was five. Two women are looking for themselves, each other and their own self-identification, in the midst of pandemic.
Every year a group of volunteer divers organizes several expeditions to collect garbage from the bottom of the Issyk-Kul lake. They face such problems as weak support from local authorities, resistance from the owners of boarding houses. Yet, driven by the love for nature, they continue to fight for the purity of the lake so that the younger generation of scuba divers would dive only for sports or scientific interests, and not as underwater cleaners.
MÄTIL is a compound word of Mátin (text) and Til (language) from Kazakh. This film is research on language segregation in Kazakhstani urban areas and spheres of life, politics, and art.
29-year-old Almaz diagnosed with Down's syndrome, breaks all stereotypes about his disease. He works as a theatre actor, and never ceases to amaze others with his desire to live a full life.
In the Kyrgyz Republic, kidnapping of girls for the purpose of coercion into marriage is widespread. The last high-profile event - the abduction and murder of Aizada Kanatbekova in April 2021 shook society, recalling another tragedy - Burulai Turdalieva, kidnapped and killed in 2018. Through the study of the cases of Aizada and Burulai, the film explores the problem of "ala kachuu" ("bride kidnapping") in Kyrgyzstan in the genre of an investigative documentary film.
All participants will have the opportunity to be consulted on their projects during workshops with an experienced documentary consultant from Denmark, Tue Steen Muller. Then the other pitching trainer, filmmaker from Russia who has authored more than 20 documentaries and participated in a number of international pitching sessions, Tatyana Soboleba, will carry out a workshop on how to effectively present a documentary project to international audiences.

AÝT Central Asia 2021 offers a great opportunity to present your film project and to receive valuable feedback from international documentary film experts.
The pitching winners will receive the following prizes:
Representatives of international non-governmental organization Internews Central Asia will award one author with a monetary prize of 1000 USD towards further development of their project.

President of the international documentary film festival "Artdocfest", documentary director Vitaly Mansky will select a filmmaker who will get the chance to present their project at the Artdocfest/Riga pitching session between September 9 and 12, as well as will receive a travel grant to the Artdocfest/Moscow which will take place in December this year.

Representative of the international documentary and animation film festival DOK Leipzig, Ulrike Schmidt, will award one project team with two accreditations to DOK Leipzig which will take place between October 25 and 31 this year, as well as the chance to participate at the DOK Co-Pro film forum as observers.
PITCHING PARTNERS