By Laman Ismayilova
Over the past year, Azerbaijan's film industry has achieved major success at the international level.
Around 40 feature films, documentaries and animated films were produced last year.
The list of the country's achievements in cinematography is not over yet. Let's look through more achievements in the country's film industry in 2021.
The documentary "Shusha, you are free!" was premiered last year on the eve of Victory Day, celebrated on November 8.
The film was co-produced by Baku Media Center and the Salnamafilm studio with the Azerbaijan Culture Ministry's support.
The film provides insight into some interesting details of the "Shusha operation", one of the brightest pages of Azerbaijan's modern military history.
The director of the film is Javidan Sharifov, producers are Nazim Huseynov and Orman Aliyev.
Moreover, the historical documentary "We" was also presented last year. The film tells about the bravery of the servicemen who fought on the front line for 44 days and the unity of the Azerbaijani people supporting the army.
The author of the idea and the director of the film is Orman Aliyev, the producer is the director of the Azerbaijanfilm studio Fariz Ahmadov.
Rufat Hasanov's film "The Island Within" has been selected as the Azerbaijani entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. The 94th Academy Awards ceremony will be held in March.
The film tells about Seymur Tahirbayov, who is one of the world’s leading chess grandmasters. A few weeks before the most important game of his career, he secretly travels to an island inhabited by just one resident in order to rediscover himself.
"The Island Within" was shot by the Azerbaijanfilm and Debut film studios in partnership with Arizona Productions, Coyote Cinema and Mandarin Agency by the order of the Azerbaijan Culture Ministry.
The film was post-produced by the National Film and Animation Center under the French Culture Ministry and the Baku Media Center.
The film industry is one of the important areas of Azerbaijani-Turkish cultural cooperation. Azerbaijan and Turkey will further enhance cooperation in the film industry.
In 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkey produced the joint documentary "Fulya".
The film tells about CNN-Turk TV military reporter Fulya Ozturk and cameraman Khalil Kahraman who have played a major role in conveying the truth about the 2020 Karabakh war to the world.
The film was shot at CNN Turk's headquarters in Istanbul as well as in Ganja, Tartar, Barda and Fuzuli. Fulya Ozturk arrived in Azerbaijan to participate in the filming. The film's screenwriter and director is Tahir Tahirovich.
Moreover, Netflix also expressed interest in cooperation with Azerbaijan. However, there are certain standards that Azerbaijani films must meet. Netflix and a number of streaming services will need a license to continue broadcasting in Azerbaijan.
Recognition at major film festivals
In 2021, many local films were successfully screened at international film festivals.
Last year, Elvin Adigozal's film "Bilasuvar" was awarded at the 3rd Moscow Premiere International Film Festival of the Commonwealth Countries. The film won a special jury prize for the best filmmaker's work.
The film "Bilasuvar" tells about the life of the residents, essential human qualities and relationships that reflect the inner essence of people.
A documentary "The Last One" was named best at the Minsk International Film Festival Listapad. The documentary also won the Kazimierz Karabasz Award at the Man in Danger Media Festival in Poland.
"The Last One" is about the last inhabitant of the Kurdili island, Vitaly Pronin. In 1981, as a result of rising water levels in the Caspian Sea, Kurdili, once a bustling island, became uninhabitable. Most of the population moved from the island. No one lived there anymore except for 68-years-old Vitaly.
The film was produced by the Baku Media Center and the Salnamafilm studio with the support of the Azerbaijan Culture Ministry.
The executive producer of the film is Arzu Aliyeva, producers - Orman Aliyev and Nazim Huseynov, film director - Fariz Ahmadov, scriptwriters - Esmira Ayyub and Fariz Ahmadov, cinematographer - Mateusz Czuchnowski.
Meanwhile, Teymur Gambarov's film "Gukhuroba" received a special prize at the Umut 2021 International Forum of Young Cinema.
The film narrates about a taxi driver who fulfills a friend's request to deliver a wedding dress for his daughter from Baku to the highland of Gukhuroba village.
Baku International Short Film Festival
The 12th Baku International Short Film Festival (BISFF) was held in Baku last November.
Only 26 films out of 82 were submitted to the national competition program. Some 30 films from 18 countries were included in the international competition program.
As a result of the partnership with the British Council Azerbaijan, four films nominated and won by the British Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2020-2021 were screened as part of the festival.
The 12th Baku International Short Film Festival was highly appreciated by the audience.
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