The film industry of Kazakhstan originated in the 1930s to produce documentaries for Soviet propaganda purposes.

During the perestroika and glasnost movements, a New Wave of young Kazakh filmmakers broke away, with urgent films such as Rachid Nougmanov’s The Needle (1988) earning themselves the title of “art house” films, more likely to be shown on international screens than Kazakh ones. These New Wave directors were trained at Russian institutions and used film to investigate Kazakh identity.

Alongside this, dynamic voices of the younger generation are emerging to create entirely new heroes, informed by both Eastern and Western tradition. Akhan Sataev’s, ‘Racketeer’ (2007) is a perfect example of the electrifying fresh perspective in the region.