Uzbek Filmmakers Win Prize in Kyrgyzstan

  • Umida Ahmedova and Oleg Karpov in Bishkek. (Photo: IWPR)

Filmmakers Umida Ahmedova and Oleg Karpov may not be popular with the authorities in their own country Uzbekistan, but they walked away with first prize at an international festival held in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan.

Judges at the Reformat video-art show awarded the husband-and-wife team on September 30 top prize among 40 entries for their film called “Angel and Her Two Husbands” – a title that alone is guaranteed to anger conservative-minded officials back in Tashkent.

“Their creativity is really unique,” Gamal Bokonbaev, head of the International Festival Project in Bishkek, said.

In 2010, Ahmedova was charged with “defaming the Uzbek nation” for a series of photos showing life as it really is in Uzbekistan. (See: Uzbek Authorities Move Against Top Photographer.)

She was released under amnesty after an international outcry, and resumed working with her husband and co-director Karpov.

In 2010, the Museum of Cinema which Karpov founded was closed down by the authorities. Nevertheless, in June 2012 year, he still managed to run the first Central Asian Festival of Independent Film.

Ahmedova and Karpov plan to carry on regardless.

“When pressure is exerted, it creates resistance,” Karpov told NBCentralAsia. “Art pushes the boundaries of what’s permissible, and we are always try to expand them further. If you are an artist, you must be ready to climb Calvary and be crucified.”

This article was produced as part of News Briefing Central Asia output, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.

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