Russia’s Cinema Fund (RCF/Fond Kino) and Kazakhfilm have signed a memorandum of understanding to foster closer cooperation between the two nations’ film industries.

The document was signed during this week’s Eurasia International Film Festival in Almaty by RCF’s executive director Sergei Tolstikov and Kazakhfilm/Eurasia IFF president Ermek Amanshayev [pictured] in the presence of Elena Romanova, director of RCF’s international department.

According to the agreement, Kazakh filmmakers will be able in future to receive help in the production and distribution of their films, with collaborative initiatives also being developed in the areas of film education and scriptwriting, among others.

Tolstikov stressed that the support on the part of RCF would also address the needs of young directors who can bring Kazakh cinema to a higher level with their fresh visions.

Speaking of himself and Amanshayev, Tolstikov suggested that their generation had a common history [within the former Soviet Union], while the new generation is growing up in completely different countries.

“If our producers want to be on the Russian market, they need a memorandum like this one and need to produce together,“ Amanshayev said, describing the agreement as „the first step on the path to greater collaboration between the two countries.”

The agreement was signed on the second day of the eighth edition of the Eurasia festival which was opened on Monday evening at Almaty’s Palace of the Republic by the long-awaited feature Virtual Love by Kazakh film-maker Amir Karakulov, starring Bibigul Suyunshalina and Artur Smolyaninov.

Karakulov is one of a five-man International Jury under the presidency of veteran German director-producer Wolfgang Petersen along with Bosnia’s Danis Tanovic, Georgia’s George Ovashvili and the Philippines’ Loy Arcenas, who will be screening 12 titles in the International Competition, ranging from Thomas Vinterberg’s Cannes title The Hunt and Malgorzata Szumowska’s Elles through Özcan Alper’s Future Last Forever and Oleg Filipenko’s Istorii Graphomana, to Alexey Mizgirev’s Convoy and the world premiere of local Kazakh director Daniar Salamat’s feature Kishkentai.

In addition, the festival’s selection committee of film directors Damir Manabay and Nariman Turebayev, screenwriter Gaziza Nasyrova and film critic Gulnara Abikeyeva compiled an ‘out of competition’ showcase entitled Dynamic Kazakh Cinema of 12 Kazakh productions made between September 2011 and September 2012, including new films by Erzhan Rustembekov, Gulsina Migaliyeva and Arman Aldazharov.

Moreover, Eurasia hosted a special screening of Ahat Ibrayev’s fairy tale fantasy film The Book Of Legends: Mysterious Forest, the first Kazakh film with two-thirds of its running time made in state-of-the-art CGI animation.

Other sidebars this year include a review of prize-winners from the Berlinale, a spotlight on Asian winners from Busan, and an East-West Cinema Bridge with retrospectives of the cinematographies in Greece and Turkey, as well as a programme of Central Asian cinema showing the most interesting films produced in 2011-2012 in Kirgizstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.