Award-Winning Kazakh Film at the 2024 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival

The 40th edition of the Visual Communications (VC) Film Fest/Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival honored the Kazakh film “Madina” with a Special Recognition award, the festival’s press office announced on May 16.

The film, which was directed by Aizhan Kassymbek and has an all-female cast, explores the suppressed real-life experiences of its lead actress and other strong Kazakh women with the goal of raising awareness and igniting change within the Kazakh community.

“The film is equally tender as it is powerful, and we look forward to more from this team.” the jury said of the film.

Madina Akylbekova, the principal actress who won a Special Recognition for Performance, is partially based on her genuine tale in the film. A young girl, her younger brother, and her own mother are all taken care of by a single mother in the film. Madina works as a dancer at events at night and instructs dance to adults and children during the day. She helps her family with their many issues during the downtime in between shifts.

The jury said, “This actress gave a tremendous performance, bringing to the big screen glimpses of her own lived experience as a single mother who struggles to balance her career as a dancer with taking care of her old grandmother and her two-year-old daughter. Madina Akylbek’s performance, even alongside her own child, illuminates her resilience and courage to tell the truth,”

The VC Film Fest, the biggest film festival in Southern California, is devoted to presenting international films directed by and featuring Asians and Pacific Islanders. About 150 movies and other media pieces honor Asian Pacific creators and their narratives.

“Madina” had an Asian Future program screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival at the end of 2023. Along with Askhat Kuchinchirekov’s “Bauyryna Salu” (Parenting), it was one of two Kazakh films that were screened at the festival.

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