The  “River”film by Emir Baigazin, director  won the Grand Prix at the International Film Festival in Lisbon and Sintra

The  “River”film by Emir Baigazin, director  won the Grand Prix at the International Film Festival in Lisbon and Sintra


The 12th LEFFEST International Film Festival, taking place in two Portuguese cities at once – Lisbon and Sintra – from 16 to 25 November, announced the winner in the nomination “Best Film”. It turned out to be the film “The River” of the Kazakh director Emir Baygazin. The film took part in the section of the main competition of the film festival along with films from Europe, Asia, North and South America.

– Grand Prix – the first prize for the best film – goes to the film “The River” by Emir Baygazin. A beautiful film with unusual expressiveness, poetic power, hypnotism, grandeur and humanism, this is a unique film that struck us from the first frame, ”said jury member Martha Argerich on the stage.

It is noteworthy that the jury consisted of artists from various fields – in addition to filmmakers Walter Salis and Jonathan Littel, the films were evaluated by an American singer and actress, David Lynch’s muse Christa Bell, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, pianist and conductor Sitven Kovachevich and artist George Queros.

The LEFFEST film festival competition has only three prizes – “The Best Film”, as the most outstanding and innovative in the film language, the “Big Jury Prize” – for the most daring artistic approach and the “Special Prize”.

It is noteworthy that in 2013, the film “Lessons of Harmony” by Emir Baygazin was awarded the Grand Prize of the jury.

In addition, the prize for contribution to the world cinema was presented to the Kazakh director Darezhan Omirbayev, who was retrospectively presented at the festival.

Recall the world premiere of the film “River” was held at the Venice Film Festival in the program “Horizons”, where Emir Baygazin was awarded the prize “Best Director”. The North American premiere took place at the Toronto International Film Festival. The picture was presented in the competition program “Platform”, where she received honorary mention of the jury and first place in the rating of Screen Daily film critics. A month later, the film “The River” received the nomination “Achievements in Directing” at the 12th annual ceremony of Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The Asian premiere of “The River” was held in the Tokyo Film Festival competition program. At the Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles, the film “River” was awarded the “Jury Prize” for “making a hypnotic-fascinating film with an original and authentic film language”. Emir Baygazin was also awarded a grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Kazakhstan (Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, JSC Kazakhfilm, Emir Baigazin Production), Norway (Norsk Film produksjon) and Poland (Madants) participated in the production of the Rivers. At the script level, the picture was supported by a grant from the Asia-Pacific Cinema Association MPA APSA. For the first time the project was presented at the film market of the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary in June 2017. In September of the same year, the project won the first prize in the Pitchand Meet project competition of the film market of the Warsaw IFF. The postproduction of the painting was completed in the summer of 2018 at the Orka and Dreamsound studios in Warsaw, with funding from the Polish Institute of Cinematography.