From the 25th to the 30th May 2023, the Fifth Eurasian Film Festival was held in Romford, London. Films and presentations were made from more than twelve countries, embodying the best of culture and creative talent. The festival ran alongside the Romford Film Festival. President of Romford Film festival, Spencer Hawken, was very complimentary about the quality of the films and the thought provoking subject matter. “The Eurasian Film Festival adds another level to the Romford festival and we are happy to host the works and support the Eurasian Creative Guild,” he said.

As part of the festival, the Eurasian Creative Guild held its own meeting where there was a book launch of the famous Kazakh author, Dulat Issabekov’s book of short stories “Confrontation” which has been published by Hertfordshire Press in London. There was also an excellent art exhibition, with portraits by SarvinozHojieva, from Tajikistan. During the meeting there were poetry readings from John Farndon (UK), GenadiyGorovoy (Belarus – Israel), Natalie Wang (Lipatova) (Belarus – Bulgaria) and Tanya Ivanova (Bulgaria – Spain), who also presented her new collections of poetry. One of the highlights of the gathering was a musical performance by Erlan Ryskaly, on the Dombra from Kazakhstan. Erlan is currently in the UK on a musical internship supported by Eurasian Creative Guild.

Natalie Bays from Romford film festival spoke to the audience about her positive experiences of the Guild, “I would never have thought that I would experience Central Asia on my own doorstep. It is great for the people of Romford to have the opportunity to see the films, hear the music and experience the culture. Building bridges between communities is what the Eurasian Creative Guild is about and this is exactly what they are doing here!” she said.

The ECG Film festival 2023 Awards Ceremony was dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Maria Akhmedjanova – Shevel (Uzbekistan). Maria was an amazing architect and designer who led the conception and creative planning of Jizzakh, a city in Uzbekistan. The ceremony was held on the 30th May and was very well attended. There were welcome speeches by: HE ambassador of Kazakhstan to Great Britain – MagzhanIlyasov. He emphasised the power of film in conveying stories and sharing information but also said that films should be memorable and thought provoking.

Other speeches were made by the new Mayor of the London borough of Havering, Cllr. Stephanie Nunn. This was only her second official duty and she was very interested in the cultural diversity at the festival.

The founder of ECG Film festival, Mark (Marat)Akhmedjanov (Uzbekistan – UK), opened the formal proceedings and in the traditional film festival manner the award winners and recipients of prizes were announced.

Best Eurasian Feature Film
The Crying Steppe (Kazakhstan) | Marina Kunarova
Prize was awarded by Kamshat Kumisbay,
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the United Kingdom

Best Eurasian Short film
Khaibulla (Russia – Bashkortostan)
| RustemShaikhutdinov

Best Eurasian Documentary Film
Katia and Rimma (France) | Gulya Mirzoeva
Detached (Russia – Chukotka) | Vladimir Krivov
Prizes awarded by a representative from the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom

Best Eurasian Screenplay in English
Pirandello’s Wife (USA) | Lynn Elliott
Prize awarded by John Farndon, ECG former chairman

Best Eurasian Screenplay in Russian
Home (Kazakhstan) | Zhorabek Musabayev
Prize awarded by Bella Kogan

Best Screenplay based on Kazat Akmatov’s ‘Thirteen Steps of Erika Klaus’
The Valkyrie (Israel) | Darien Shaul Roytman
Prize awarded by Lira Sabyrova – Counsellor of the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Honorary Achievement Certificate
for Animation

History of the Music Hall (UK) | Tim Wilson
Prize awarded by Timur Akhmedjanov

Best Eurasian Cinematography
The Last Witness (UK – Poland) | Piotr Szkopiak
Prize awarded by Adam Siemieńczyk
and Marta Brassart

Best Young Director
Selected (Kazakhstan) | Said Ashirbayev
Prize awarded by Natalie Wang

Audience Choice Award
Awakening of a sleeping beauty (Kazakhstan) | AkbobekTolzhanova
Prize awarded by Stephen M. Bland

Best Romance Screenplay
The Way of the heart(UK) | Aldona Grupas

Honorary Achievement Certificate for Art Direction
A Team of Heaven (Russia) | Vladimir Alenikov

Certificate of Acknowledgement for the Sincerity and Compassion Seen in the Production of War-Related Films
One War (Russia) | Natalya Ivanova

Certificate of Acknowledgement for the Promotion and Celebration of British Cinema and Filmmaking Talent in the UK and Internationally
Luba Balagova

Certificate of appreciation and Barbara Nawrocka medal by Poezja London for contribution in promotion of Eurasian Culture
Sarvinoz Hojieva (Tajikistan) for her art exhibition
Genadiy Gorovoy (Belarus/Israel) for poetry presentation
Natalie Bays (UK) from Romford film festival
Erlan Ryskaly (Kazakhstan) for musical performance
Natalie Wang (Lipatova) (Belarus – Bulgaria) for jury service
Tania Ivanova (Bulgaria – Spain) for poetry presentation

Certificate of appreciation were also awarded to:
John Farndon (UK)
Gareth Stamp (UK – Bulgaria)
Raza Syed (UK – Pakistan)

The event was supported by the presence of representatives from the following Embassies: Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus.

The Eurasian Creative Guild is proud to share the cinematographic culture and expertise of its members from around the world. It is also worth mentioning that films are rarely the work of one person, and what is seen on the screen has so many people behind the camera that make the creations come to life. Such collaboration and dedication need to be admired and continue to be supported. The moving images and stories that create these works are a powerful way of bringing people together through shared experience. Through the Eurasian Film Festival in London and the Burabay Short Film festival in Kazakhstan, the Eurasian Creative Guild continues to build bridges between different cultures.