Diary 5 of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab: Story of Hurshed

29 August 2021

We continue a series of articles about the work of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab (CASL) organised by the UNESCO Office in Almaty as part of the "Strengthening Film Industries in Central Asia" project with the support of the government of the Republic of Korea. This time we will tell the story of Hurshed Rasdidov, CASL participant, who is representing Tajikistan.

Khurshed is 19 years old and he is a student at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russian Federation) and an employee of the "Sinamo" Tajik private film company. Despite his age, the young man has big goals in mind, one of which is to make his own film in Hollywood. Together with the other participants of the lab, he is now working on his project "The Breaker" and is moving step by step towards his dream.

About the Tajik Film Industry

"During the Soviet period, Tajikistan had one of the strongest film studios, but now the times have changed. Now it is not well funded. If the film festival project in Central Asia costs around 100,000 USD on the average, the majority of our projects costs around 15,000 USD", Hurshed said.

The young scriptwriter noted that for various reasons there is an outflow of technical specialists from Tajikistan, and that there is a lack of producers who would be involved in filmmaking on their own. He also highlighted the advantages of filmmaking in the country: "It is possible shoot a good film two or three times cheaper than in other countries. And, of course, our potential depends on talented people they will prove themselves, but it will take time for their projects to be funded".

To introduce Tajik cinema and culture in general, Khurshed suggested: "If I recommend Tajik films to foreigners, I would begin with such Soviet films as "The Death of the Moneylender" and "Rustam and Suhrab" these are the classics. As for the contemporary cinema, I would recommend foreign viewers to watch Rumi Shoazimov's films such as "A Dream of the Ape" and "Provincial Dreamers". In my opinion, these are such grotesque films that capture the Tajik atmosphere and spirit very clearly".

About The Breaker and CASL

"I am very glad that I became a part of the lab because the project I chose was quite raw. I could have chosen a good project and got the trainers' approval for it, but I deliberately chose a weak and quite raw project because I knew what competent professionals there were. I took advantage of the situation to get help to turn my project into a real diamond", explained the young scriptwriter.

His project entitled "The Breaker" tells the story of Azamat, a 17-year-old teenager who experienced humiliation from bullies and now sets his aim of becoming a local authority. On the way to his goal, he feels pressure from his new friends to do degrading things. At the same time, he experiences the mental emptiness caused by the destruction of his friendship with his best friend Farhod and the cold attitude of his father, who blames him for his mother's death. This pressure transforms him and eventually without noticing it he becomes the person he despised so much a violent bully.

With his project, Hurshed wanted to deliver his manifesto against the violence; it will show the ugliness of brutality and images that will evoke cold fear in the eyes of the audience.

Another issue he wants to address in "The Breaker" is the causes of the lost generation in Tajikistan: "Secondly, I wondered where does the 'bullies' came from? At first I thought it was because the poverty of the country, but then I watched the village kids and saw that many of them are motivated to learn. After doing household activities, many of them read books. I continued to reflect on this topic and came to the conclusion that parents play an important role in creating a child's personality. It seems to me that if parents have brought you up normally and have given you some values, then even if you watch the most immoral pop culture - you will never do bad things. For this reason, in this film I want to show how the lost generation of Tajikistan lives, and the reasons why it becomes lost. I want to focus on parents and that their attention is the most important thing".

According to Hurshed, during his training at CASL, he was given the tools to achieve his goals as a scriptwriter as well as the networking with true filmmakers and trainers: "Such a rich mix of people with different backgrounds and professions really helped my project and made it more versatile. I am very happy with it. If the CASL Lab announces a call for participants again, I would advise many young filmmakers to go there, because of useful and unique information that is always there".

About His Path and the Magic of Cinema

From the age of 16, Hurshed started to write scripts for his creative projects ranging from vines on Instagram to professional videos for his university.

According to the young man, his love for cinema was passed on to him from his father: "My father graduated from VGIK and before I realised that I wanted to be fully involved in cinema, I didn't know that my father had studied there. When I told him I wanted to do film and I loved it, he said: Well, I studied at the VGIK. My dad was in the production department and I chose the stage management department".

"Since childhood, my hobby has been watching films I could watch films for hours, and I developed a cinematic IQ when you know movies, you have formed your taste, and you want to remove or add something of your own. That's when I realised I wanted to create my own films. I was mentally and spiritually ready for that, so I decided I was going to be a filmmaker, a scriptwriter or a director. The main thing is to create something good and interesting", he said.

What attracts him most in his chosen profession is the reaction and attention of the audience: "Audience attention is like an energy drink that powers any artist and filmmaker". For this reason, the young scriptwriter's dream is to go international: "My goal is to make a film that will be made in Hollywood, and if Hollywood appreciates it, it will spread all over the world".

"In any comedy you can find drama and in any drama you can find comedy. Everyone can find something unique in any film that touches them to their heart and soul that's the magic of cinema", Hurshed concluded.

He also advised young scriptwriters: "Determine exactly what you want, choose your path so that you choose accurately and have a clear goal in front of you. Secondly, you have to pay a huge price your time and work, and if you devote yourself sincerely to it all, it will all pay off in the future. The most important thing is to work hard".

The interview was given to Aigerim Mukhametgali, communications intern.

Previous Diaries:
Initial Project Participants;
Project Trainers;
Diary 1: Reviewing Applications and Selecting Participants;
Diary 2: Consultations of Yulia Levitskaya;
Diary 3: Story of Aizada;
Diary 4: Story of Azizbek.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/diary-4-of-the-central-asian-scriptwriting-lab-story-of-hurshed