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Jana Cekara film festival
24 - 28.10.22

The JAÑA CEKARA Film Festival (24 - 28.10.22) is dedicated to presenting films made by Kazakhstani and international filmmakers. Authors are raising issues of our connection to and shared identity with Muslim ethnic minorities living in the Xinjiang Uyghur region of the People's Republic of China - Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and others.

The name JAÑA CEKARA was not selected randomly. The phrase JAÑA CEKARA is a direct translation from the Chinese name "Xinjiang'', meaning “new frontier”. People who live in this region themselves call their land East Turkestan, as the name "Xinjiang" is colonial in its meaning. The films not only show the unique perspective of the directors but also raise an important issue concerning the brutal violation of human rights and freedoms. They portray common people, their lives, and the tragedy of broken connections with their families.

Thanks to the digital revolution and the rapid spread of information, we are witnessing the humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes. Our festival aims to raise awareness about this issue and provide a ground to reflect on and analyze the documentary and visual research of contemporary Kazakh and Uyghur filmmakers.

On the opening day of the festival, on October 24th, the guests will be greeted with a brief lecture on the shared identity and history of Turkic peoples living on different sides of the border - in China and Kazakhstan.

Программа / Бағдарлама (24 - 28.10)


24/10 17:00

  • Social anthropologist Zarina Mukanova's report "Why is it important  know wbout Eastern Turkestan"


  • Имам және гәнмәнпи (2021)

author: Tilek Yrysbek


  • Жұмагүлдің әлемі. Малшы өмірі (2021)

author: Tilek Yrysbek


  • Discussion (discussion with the author and audience)


25/10 17:00 

  • Moustache dispute (2021)

author: Jack Wolf


  • Dina (2021)

author: Yadykar Ibraimov


  • A Song Of Resistance (2022)

author: Bazla Samin


  • Discussion (discussion with the author and audience)


26/10 19:30 

  • Letter Home (2021)

author: Yadykar Ibraimov

  • Stories from inside the Xinjiang camps (2022)

authors: Зарина Муканова, Руне Стеенберг


  • Discussion (discussion with the author and audience)

27/10 19:30

  • East Turkistan: The right to freedom (2022)

author:  Kanat Beisekeyeev


  •  Discussion (discussion with the author and audience)


28/10 19:30

  • Video Recordings of Tilek Yrysbek


  • Red Hill Playback: Part 1 - Path 

author: Tangbosh 


  •  Discussion (discussion with the author and audience


  • Имам және гәнмәнпи 


Tilek Yrysbek


Imam Tursyn Yegimbayuly was born in Xinjiang. Today he is a resident of Shelek village, Almaty region. The documentary shows Tursyn Egimbayuly's daily life and his small kitchen where he prepares Xinjiang cuisine.


  • Жұмагүлдің әлемі. Малшы өмірі 


Tilek Yrysbek


Zhumagul Kantaikovna and Kasen Omirbekuly moved from Xinjiang in 2012. For many years, two members of their family could not get citizenship. They spent their earnings on preparing documents. Today, they earn a living by taking care of livestock. They did not lose hope for the good.


  • Moustache dispute 


Jack Wolf



‘The Moustache Dispute’ is a short film featuring an excerpt from a story of the same name by the Uyghur writer Memtimin Hoshur. A 20 minute shot from the train window shows Xinjiang's landscape turning from morning to day and then night, whilst Akyar reads the passage from Hoshur's story set in the same region.


  • Dina 


Ядыкар Ибраимов


Dina - is an excerpt from the interview of Dina Nurdybai, she is an ex-detainee of the concentration camp.


  • A Song Of Resistance 


Bazla Samin


A Song of Resistance tells the story of Yerbakyt Otarbay, a Kazakh victim of the Chinese ‘re-education’ center. Through animated sequences, we delve into his traumatic memories of being forcibly detained in a ‘re-education’ center. The film witnesses him grappling with the emotional turmoil of being separated from his family.


  • Письмо домой 


Ядыкар Ибраимов


Letter home is a short film made in 2021. Group of artists went to Kazakh and Chinese border to send a symbolic message. Through the loud speaker they play recording of a voice messages of people who lost touch with their loved ones due to the ongoing genocide.


  • Stories from inside the Xinjiang camps


Зарина Муканова, Руне Стеенберг


This film is based on interviews of the survivors of the re-education camps in Xinjiang. This film was made by social anthropologists Rune Steenberg and Zarina Mukanova in Almaty in 2022. Camp survivors and their relatives tell their stories of mass incarceration in Xinjiang starting in 2017. Each has their own story, but as importantly, this is also a collective story. Each individual was affected by the system and went through the process each in their own way, but the experience of state violence and the resulting trauma belong to a common and collective experience. This is the experience, the story, which this film seeks to document from both a personal and interpersonal perspective. The healing too and the lessons we take from it must be collective – and include not just them, but all of us.


  • East Turkistan: the right to freedom 


Қанат Бейсекеев 


Salih is an ethnic Uyghur from East Turkestan, who at a young age was forced to flee the country with his family to the United States. He talks about the re-education camps, as the Chinese authorities call them. His story tells us what's really going on there. This story should concern not only the Uighurs, but all ethnic groups living in East Turkestan for centuries. This is the story of an activist. East Turkestan is a subregion of Central Asia and covers the territory from the Tien Shan mountain range to the Mongolian Altai mountains. It is currently part of the People's Republic of China and is referred to as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). XUAR is the largest region of China in terms of area and has a population of ~26 million people. About 60% of the XUAR population (about 16 million people) are people of Turkic and Mongolian origin - Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Mongols.


  • Тілектің жазбалары 

Tilek Irysbek's video recordings contain videos of the author saying goodbye to his relatives at the time of moving to Kazakhstan in Xinjiang. His parents and Tilek himself experienced rural life in his childhood. His native place, Kazakh village in East Turkestan, introduces the traditional daily life of family gatherings and people gathered for a celebration


  • Red Hill Playback: Part 1 - Path


Red Hill Playback is a short film that combines director’s childhood memory footage and clips that represent his ideas based on the time that was shown in the film. Film demonstrates the period before and after Tangbosh came to Kazakhstan, by using certain clips to compare his mindset between then and now.

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