The fifth Eurasia International Film Festival hopes to welcome guests including Jack Nicholson, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fitzgerald, and Guillermo Arriaga to Astana, Kazakhstan from Sept 7-13.

Other invitees include Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Armand Assante, Sean Penn, Fred Ross, Bruce Beresford, Lucrecia Martel, Nae Caranfil, Johnny To, Jia Zhangke, Fatih Akin, and Mikhail Porechenkov.

This year's festival also marks the 10th anniversary of Astana being the new capital of Kazakhstan.

The festival's programme focuses on Kazakh and Central Asian cinema but also includes a programme of international festival favourites such as The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, My Marlon And Brando, Lemon Tree, and Captive.

Other highlights include selections of new films from South Korea and the US, a memorial evening for Chingiz Aitmatov, and a tribute to Nurmukhan Zhanturin

Organisers are the General Directorate of the Eurasia International Film Festival, the Culture and Information Ministry of Kazakhstan and Shaken Aymanov Kazakhfilm Studios

The festival notes that local cinema is seeing something of a boom: in 2002, only two films were made, but the current level is 20 features annually, such as the recent Mongol and Tulpan. Eurasia will premiere 11 to 12 Kazakh films made in 2007-2008 (including Slambek Taukel's Mahambet and Sabit Kurmanbekov's The Fuss) as well as classics from the Kazakh New Wave (The Needle, Toro).

Programme updates can be found at