Magazine article Screen International

Volker Schlöndorff Calls for Release of Ulzhan Co-Screenwriter Atabayev

Magazine article Screen International

Volker Schlöndorff Calls for Release of Ulzhan Co-Screenwriter Atabayev

Article excerpt

German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff has called for the release of the Kazakh director and author Bolat Atabayev who was taken into custody in Almaty on Friday (June 15) for allegedly inciting social discord.

In a letter to the responsible judge Nariman Begaliev, Schlöndorff wrote that he made the acquaintance of Atabayev during his work on his 2007 film Ulzhan at the Kazakh Film Studio: "He worked with me as a co-author on my screenplay and helped me look for actors in Almaty and the whole republic," the Oscar-winning director recalled.

"It is completely inconceivable to me that Bolat Atabayev has ever done anything other than creative artistic work," Schlöndorff continued. "His whole temperament doesn't lend itself or make him at all suitable for political agitation. Like your great poet Abai, Aitmatov and Tolstoy, his interest is naturally with the disadvantaged, persecuted and poor, and he also stands up for endangered cultures like, for example, Kazakh folk culture, theatre and music traditions.""I appeal to your sense of justice and humanity to release Mr Atabayev until an independent court has finally convicted him - something that, as I already said, I can never imagine happening," he concluded. …

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