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On May 22nd, the premiere of the historical documentary film "Turksib" was shown at one of London's most iconic venues, Central Hall Westminster. Long considered a classic of the 20th century documentary genre, the film explores rural Kazakh life and culture. Filmed during the 1920s, the footage includes the earliest recorded scenes of Kazakhstan, set against the backdrop of one of the largest construction projects of the 20th century, the famous Turkestan-Siberian railway.
The musical talents of modern Kazakhstan created a special soundtrack for the silent film. It was this original score that became the real highlight of the premiere, as the soundtrack was performed live by musicians from the national “Camerata of Kazakhstan" orchestra. Distinguished British and foreign guests enjoyed the documentary masterpiece and the unique musical works performed on traditional Kazakh instruments.
Turksib, filmed in 1929, is the work of director Viktor Turin and is one of the first films made in Kazakhstan which survives to this day. The film centres on the construction of a monumental Soviet project, a railway line that connected Central Asia and Siberia, and had a significant influence on the development of the American and British documentary genre.
Speaking to the audience, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan in the UK Mr. Erlan Idrissov noted that the film became one of the brightest achievements in documentary films during this period. It demonstrates genuine human heroism and highlights the boundless enthusiasm and titanic labour of the peoples of the region in the realisation of such a mammoth project. Ambassador Idrissov stressed the significant contribution of the British Film Institute to the project after they carried out a frame-by-stage restoration of the film.
The film premiered in December 2017 in Kazakhstan. The film's soundtrack was written by Kazakh composer Kuat Shildebaev. The score possesses a unique style and a bright melodic structure. The soundtrack is performed by the State Orchestra "Camerata of Kazakhstan" under the direction of People's Artist of the Republic of Kazakhstan Gaukhar Murzabekova.