What it's all about.
According to the United Nations, nearly 15 per cent of Kyrgyz women younger than 24 have married under duress. About 20 per cent of all marriages in the republic are contracted by «ala-kachuu» («snatch and run» = abduction of women). 60 per cent of marriages in rural regions are preceded by abduction. Up to 30 women are abducted every day in Kyrgyzstan and about 10,000 brides are stolen every year.
This fate was experienced by the protagonist of the novel «Djamila» by Chingiz Aitmatov. Despite initial prejudices in Kyrgyzstan, the story of Jamila became a hymn to the human soul and the search for the meaning of life. It has been translated into 170 languages and is one of the most well-known works in today’s world literature.
Attitudes towards the custom of abducting women remain taboo in Kyrgyz society, despite many tragic stories. «Ala-kachuu» is even romanticised in popular culture via TV programmes and feature films. In this regard, it should be noted that in recent years the number of marriages contracted because of so-called «ala-kachuu» has been steadily increasing. That a woman should have the right to build her life on the basis of her right to her own feelings, to love and self-realisation is a great message left to us by the famous Kyrgyz writer.
My project is special because ...
«I swear it is the most beautiful love story in the world, in which there is not a superfluous word, not a sentence that does not resound in the heart…» Poet and novelist Louis Aragon
Chingiz Aitmatov and I are citizens of the same society, at the crossroads of peoples (nomads, peasants, mountain dwellers) and various cultural influences: Personally, I had the good fortune to meet the writer several times during my previous journalistic work to conduct interviews and conversations. As his contemporary, I was able to experience in Aitmatov a personality of rare greatness, worthy of being noticed in the stream of human history. He looked anxiously to the future and was guided by it both in his approach to the modern world and in the portrayal of his characters, understanding and portraying them in all their multiple meanings. For me, as a citizen of Switzerland who comes from Kyrgyzstan, it is a great honour to realise the work «Djamila», as a Swiss-Kyrgyz film project. The novel «Djamila» by Chingis Aitmatov was published in 1958 and made its author world famous. A film version of this work is likely to arouse great interest in many countries in Europe and Asia where the author’s name is still important. Aitmatov’s novels are philosophical and erase mental and ideological boundaries between the countries of the West and the East, as they contain universal human values. The rejection of women’s right of free choice as a prevailing conservative attitude in modern Kyrgyz society and the fixation on an ideologically traditional way of life will be an important message in the film adaptation of «Jamila». Moreover, this is the first time the work is being filmed by a Kyrgyz director with local actors and actresses.
This is what I need backing for.
As a Swiss producer, I will start shooting the feature-length film «Jamila» in August this year together with Studio «DAN Pro» from Kyrgyzstan.
Due to a change in the government of Kyrgyzstan last year, the already promised co-financing of the film production by the Department of Cinematography of the Kyrgyz Republic was unfortunately stopped. In order to be able to start the film production, we need YOUR support. The conditions for filming, the production costs for the film team and the actors’ fees have not yet been secured. In addition, the travel and hotel costs must be covered - we are very careful to ensure that all those involved work under the fairest possible conditions. In addition to contributions from film and cultural funding, we urgently need your financial support to give the young creative team under Kyrgyz direction the chance to realise the feature film «Jamila» with a new look at the legendary love story. We are happy about any amount that will help us to reach our goal.
We appreciate any amount that brings us closer to our goal! As a small incentive, we have also prepared some attractive prizes for you, which will be presented to you at the world premiere in Lucerne.