By Laman Ismayilova
The feature-documentary film "Hundred years of glorious life" has entered the competitive program of the Green Mountain Christian Film Festival to be held in the U.S. on October 18-19.
The film tells about Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, a great philanthropis, who occupies a special place among the wealthy people of the 20th century.
The role of the famous oil entrepreneur was played by Ajdar Zeynalov.
The movie was directed by Adil Gulamov, cameraman - Tahir Samadoglu. The film cast includes Sabir Mammadov, Ajdar Zeynalov, Rovshan Kerimduht, Ramiz Veliyev, Sevda Alakbarova, actor Matleb Ardabilli and others.
The film was previously successfully presented at about thirty international film festivals in Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, Russia, Germany, etc.
Earlier, "Sholler's Archive", a film by Azerbaijani film director Jalaladdin Gasimov also entered the competition program of the film festival. The film is dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the resettlement of German colonists in Azerbaijan and was screened on the special order of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Born to a poor family of a shoemaker in Icherisheher, the old part of Baku, on January 25, 1821 (1838), Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev had to work from childhood to keep his family.
He began as an apprentice of one mason in Baku and bricklayer. His dedication and hard work ensured quick professional advancement and at the age of 18 he became a contractor.
In 1873, along with his partners the Sarkis Brothers, Taghiyev rent a plot of land near the oil-booming town of Bibi-Heybat, a few kilometers to the southeast of Baku. They hired workers and started drilling for oil, but with no success. The Sarkis Brothers gave up hope decided to sell their shares.
Taghiyev purchased them and became the sole owner of the land. He continued drilling and paid workers despite all financial difficulties.
Finally, fortune smiles on him in 1877, when oil gushed out of the well with a mighty force. Oil gush instantly made him an oil baron and millionaire.
One of the first things Taghiyev did after becoming wealthy was to surface the road between the city and his oilfield in Bibi-Heybat. He then extended the road on to the Bibi-Heybat mosque.
Taghiyev invested in many important projects such as the first textile factory and fisheries. He sponsored the first Azerbaijan National Theatre (1883), the first muslin School for girls (1896), the first Technical School (1911) and covered all the expenses for the construction of what would later become the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
He also helped to solve the water crisis in the city by helping to finance the Shollar water pipeline (1916).
Baku's best-known philanthropist allocated 11,000 roubles for the construction of the head office for the Muslim Benevolent Society in Saint Petersburg, 3,000 roubles for the education of Armenian orphans, 5,000 for the St. Nina's School for Girls in Baku, 10,000 roubles for the construction of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Baku, tens of thousands of roubles for the construction and repair of mosques and madrasas throughout Russia and Persia.
Taghiyev also provided scholarships for many talented young people who strove for higher education in prestigious Russian and European universities. He built a number of schools and supported a lot of attention to mosques, since he considered them to be centers for enlightenment, culture and science.
After Azerbaijan's Sovietization in 1920 the country's wealthy people suffered severe repressions from the Bolshevik government resulting in the emigration of many of them. Therefore, Taghiyev's house and his other possessions were confiscated. He was exiled to his summer house in Mardakan.
Taghiyev's heart stopped beating on September 1, 1924. He was buried at the foot of the grave of Molla Abuturab in accordance with his wishes.
People remember Taghiyev not only for his great wealth, but how he spent it. For his outstanding contributions, Taghiyev was twice-awarded with the Order of Saint Stanislaus, as well as with a number of other orders and medals from many countries, including Russia.
The Green Mountain Christian Film Festival is run by the non-profit Faith and Family Films. The festival is a great choice for submitting family-friendly movies and documentaries. Individuals, churches, companies and organizations are all encouraged to participate.
Films must be family based that would include young children, or faith based films. Awards will be given for "Best Picture", "Best Actor", "Best Actress", "Best Director", "Best Animated Film", "Best Short" and "Best Soundtrack".
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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