Locarno Film Festival’s co-production event Open Doors Factory selects 12 projects from 114 applications.

New feature films by Tajikistan’s Bakhtiar Khudojnazarov and Uzbek directors Saodat Ismailova and Ella Vakkasova are among 12 projects from Central Asia selected from a total of 114 applications submitted to participate in Locarno Film Festival’s co-production event Open Doors Factory from August 7-10.

Khudojnazarov, who is currently working with Pallas Film on his long gestating project Waiting For The Sea, has written the screenplay for his Open Doors project Halola with co-writer Zunwas Arbadu. The story of the consequences of an Islamic divorce ritual in the remote south of Tajikistan has been developed by Berlin-based Veit Helmer Filmproduktion and has Viss Co. Film Production from Dushanbe and French production house Silkroad Production as co-producers, with Wild Bunch as sales company.

Saodat Ismailova, whose previous film 40 Days Of Silence was produced with Berlin production outfit Rohfilm, will be coming to Locarno with Barzagh, an intimate story about her own family and the first close encounter with death when her aunt died.

Meanwhile, UK-based Ella Vakkasova will be presenting her feature debut Aral about the emotional journey of a 10-year-old boy growing up during the Soviet era in socialist Central Asia. Vakkasova had received prizes for her pitching of this project at last year’s Moscow Co-production Forum and Baltic Event in Tallinn as well as at the Sofia Meetings in March.

This year’s line-up of projects to be presented to potential international co-producers during the three-day Open Doors Factory are:


Harmony Lessons by Emir Baigazin

The Fierce Horse Rustlers by Adilkhan Yerzhanov

Sunny Days by Nariman Turebayev


Jolbakan by Elnura Osmonalieva

Princess Nazik by Erkin Saliev

The Singing Grannies by Nurlan Asanbekov


Halola by Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov

Buzkashi! by Najeeb Mirza


Ener by Bayram Abdullayev and Lora Stepanskaya


Aral by Ella Vakkasova

Barzagh by Saodat Ismailova

Gaulish Village by Shukrat Karimov

Speaking about the 2010 selection from Central Asia, Locarno’s new artistic director Olivier Père pointed to their “quality” and “enormous diversity”, while the section’s new head Martina Malacrida, successor to Vincenzo Bugno, added that, “given the many problems this region’s directors and producers are confronted with on a daily basis when making their films, foreign co-productions are all the more crucial. We firmly believe that the 12 projects selected all have the potential required to attract international partners.”