Central Asian Intangible Cultural Heritage Film Festival and Photo Exhibition in Almaty

Horse raise tradition in Kazakhstan © ICHCAP

The 2019 Central Asian Intangible Cultural Heritage Film Festival and Photo Exhibition will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan for three days from November 18th to 20th. This event is jointly held by the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) and the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Kazakhstan. This event presents the video and photo documentations of intangible heritage from the five Central Asian States (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia) that have been cooperating with the ICHCAP since 2015 under the project “ICH Video Production in the Asia-Pacific”.

The film festival and photo exhibition will be held in venues around the city, including the Alatau traditional arts theater, Kazakh National Academy of Arts and Panfilov Street, creating a colorful visual experience not just for ICH professionals but the general public and students as well.

The opening ceremony to be held on the first day of the event will be attended by Yerzhan Babakumarov, deputy mayor of Almaty city, Krista Pikkat, Director, UNESCO Almaty Office, Khanzada Yessenova, Chairman of the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Kazakhstan. They will also be joined by staff from ICH vocational education related organizations from the four Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) participating in the 2019 Central Asian Subregional ICH Safeguarding Cooperation Network Meeting which will be held in Almaty during the same period. The second day includes a film screening and a symposium of ICH experts and bearers at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts. The final day consists of a film festival for members of the public.

The ICHCAP has been seeking and implementing measures to safeguard intangible cultural heritage in Central Asia such as audiovisual documentation, publications, workshops and academic conferences. In particular, the ICHCAP’s “ICH Video Production in the Asia-Pacific” Project has produced 50 videos from five Central Asian states from 2015 to 2017, which have been used in many events around the world to raise public awareness of Central Asian intangible cultural heritage. This event has been organized to further expand the network formed under the issue of intangible cultural heritage filmmaking in Central Asia over the years since the implementation of the project, while promoting the value of intangible cultural heritage to a wider audience.

For many Central Asian states, intangible cultural heritage is an important component of the reconstruction of national identity, as it has only been 2-3 decades since they achieved independence from the USSR. Given the characteristics of their nomadic culture, much of the intangible heritage have been passed down through oral tradition and not well documented. The accumulation, sharing and utilization of visual materials such as videos on intangible cultural heritage are being widely recognized as good foundational steps in the safeguarding and revitalization of intangible cultural heritage in the region.