Diary 6 of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab: Story of Ainur

6 September 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, our story is about Ainur Mubarova, a CASL participant and scriptwriter from Kazakhstan.

Ainur has loved writing stories since childhood and dreamed of working in the film industry, but life had a different plan she studied economics and worked in a bank for 9 years. Her dream is to see her film on the big screen. Although her story in the world of cinema has just begun, a short film "The Figures of Rosa" written by her has already been made. Now Ainur is raising three children and is working with other lab participants on an idea for a sci-fi comedy, "The T-Men".

About the Film Industry of Kazakhstan

"We are a small market, which is very talented, but which has a very hard time developing because there is no money to promote it. Everything just always comes down to money, so I think that the main disadvantage of our cinema is the lack of support", Ainur said. Despite some disadvantages, the scriptwriter has high hopes for the future of Kazakh cinema: "Among the positive sides is the fact that a creative economy is emerging and that Kazakhstan is now known around the world not only for cinema, but also for creativity in general. I think now is the right time for our talents to shine, for our people to make themselves known. Our cinema is known in the narrow circle of independent films and festivals, and the world will know about us when we start making good commercial films. I think it will happen soon enough.

Also according to Ainur, young and talented scriptwriters have a good chance of getting noticed in Kazakhstan: "The film industry in Kazakhstan is not a closed club; you can get in easily if you have patience, hard work and talent. People will notice, see and take you on; I think that's the positive side of it".

"Even the Total Losers Can Save the World"

Ainur found some brilliant opportunities in CASL: "It was a huge opportunity for me, first of all it's a project from an international organisation, supported by the Republic of Korea. At the end of the project, we will be pitching in the international arena - an opportunity that no scriptwriter would ever miss. What have I learned? Everything, I mean we were totally immersed in all the nuances; I really like that there are producers, filmmakers, scriptwriters and playwrights among our mentors.

In addition to knowledge, presentation skills and valuable advice, the scriptwriter gained some important contacts: "We get to know each other and have connections with each other, so we will help each other in the future and that is also very important. I think it's crucial to have connections and contacts in filmmaking, just like in any other field".

"The T-Men" project tells the story of a charlatan who pretends to be a shaman and claims to hear the Umai goddess. One day he gets a visit from his little sister, whom he hasn't seen for years. She is 17, she is pregnant with the reincarnation of a Tengri god and has no idea what to do. The hero must help his sister because this baby is being hunted by the god of death, Irlik. Next, a team of such losers is assembled: a former bogeyman, a nine-tailed fox, the goddess Umai, who lives an ordinary life, the girl and himself. The five of them must take her to the centre of Eurasia and help her give birth to the god. If this god is born, magic will return to the world and then everything will change, but until that happens, they have to go through various misadventures.

"The main message of the film is that even total losers can save the world", comments the young woman.

Ainur also explained to us the main goal of this project: "I want the project to tell the audience about our country, our ancient religion, modern Almaty and the beauty of the steppes. With this film I'd like to open the curtain of our cinema to the world; I want people to laugh, to fall in love with our actors, the Kazakhs, this film and its atmosphere; this is my dream".

"To give Warmth and Inspiration"

For Ainur, it is important that her films have meaning: "My films will always raise themes of kindness, friendship, love and family. I don't want my films to promote wrong things; it just happens that all my projects are about children. I am a mother of three and I love children very much, I want to be able to communicate something to them and influence their minds".

"My favourite film is "Office Romance", I could watch it forever and other films like it. I like good comedies, of course, I also respect serious independent films, dramas, but it was comedies that motivated me to become a scriptwriter because they make me feel inspired, they leave me with a good aftertaste and because people generally have a great time watching them", shares the young woman.

Ainur advises to start exploring Kazakh cinema starting with independent films: "As for the independent films I would recommend "Harmony Lessons" by Emir Baigazin. I don't really like heavy films, but this one is special; I think it's a must-see. Of comedies, I'll be boring, but you have to see "Kelinka Sabina" because it's funny and unusual, no matter how you look at it. I really liked the first part of the film, "Offline Vacation"; and we also have classic movies to watch: "Shal", "Kelin" and so on".

Like many artists, the scriptwriter finds her inspiration in the eyes of readers and viewers: "What inspires me most in my work are the moments when I read my scripts to someone and see how people react: they laugh, they are interested. Inspiring people is the main thing I would like to transmit through my films. If after a film you are inspired and the film has influenced you in a good way, something in you has changed and clicked, then that's 100% film magic".

Finally, Ainur gave some advice to aspiring scriptwriters: "First, get an education, because its much harder to sell your ideas without it and because the lack of specific knowledge is immediately noticeable. There are script laws that you have to learn and know. If you know how to create, my advice is to participate in all competitions, to work all the time. Write down the thoughts that come into your head, carry a notebook with you or take notes on your phone. If you hear a great joke or phrase, write it down, if you are walking down the street and you see an inspiring situation, write it down, because it will slip your mind later".

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;
Diary 5: Story of Hurshed.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/diary-6-of-the-central-asian-scriptwriting-lab-story-of-ainur