Bihisht faqat baroi murdagon (To get to Heaven, First you have to die), 2006. Source: Listal.com
THE CONTEMPORARY STATE OF TAJIK CINEMA, MILES AWAY FROM NATIVE SHORES
by Rasha Rehman, Juhi Dhingra
International cinema has exclusive images that are profoundly rooted in a certain irreproducible culture. To define cinema, one must consider the influence of policy and the principal ideological line. While looking at the history of cinema, one cannot disregard the dependency of this industry on the geographical, political, and economic conditions of the country where the films are produced. Although the role of independent platforms and entities is clear to everyone, it’s not possible to ignore the performance of sovereignty and its policy to promote and expand narrative arts such as films.
Tajikistan, a country with a high potential for established and mid-career filmmakers, has faced a lot of problems with respect to supporting the domestic film industry. Additionally, due to its civil wars and erratic economical situations, the country has not been able to introduce many notable films and filmmakers to the international film industry in the past 20 years.
This has caused a need for financing, education, and recognition from film directors, producers, actors and other industry talent outside Tajikistan’s borders. As a result, the rising generation is turning to immigration measures to build their level of knowledge and techniques in the industry. In this respect, young talented filmmakers are searching for audiences and collaborators outside the country because they are unable to receive proper training and exposure within their own country. Within Tajikistan, films are still made vastly on video and mainly for local importance. Thus, people who want to be professionals in this field are faced with a dilemma – stay in the country and work on low-budget projects, or leave and accept the hardships of professional activity with standards and the market in other countries.
Most scholars divide Tajik Cinema of the post-Soviet period into two categories: Tajik cinema produced and shot within the country, and the cinema in ‘emigration’ produced abroad and sometimes shot in Tajikistan. The search of Tajik identity can be traced to a question regarding the belonging of cinema ‘in emigration’ produced by foreign producers and shot by foreign professionals to Tajik culture.
In the current situation, the help and need of an outsider platform that has access to the international industry network and can connect Tajik filmmakers, producers, scriptwriters, and anybody related to the film industry to international film studios and companies are greatly recognized. At Farsi Cinema Center (FCC), teams work tirelessly to expand the scope of cooperation and collaboration between such obscure cinemas and the rest of the world. FCC not only provides impetus to Tajik filmmakers through co-production opportunities, but also helps them establish their film career, to further its goal of putting Tajik cinema on the map as a recognizable brand of cinema.