The city of Yakutsk was planned to host the Festival from 18th to 22nd of March. But due to COVID-19 it was canceled, and closed screenings of the films were decided to be held only for the Jury so the winners can be determined. This year the Russian film director Boris Khlebnikov (“Roads to Koktebel”, “Arrhythmia”) acted as a chairman of the jury of the Main Competition. Next to him, the judicial seats were occupied by film directors Eduard Novikov and Ella Manzheeva.
“The winner of this year “Atbai’s Fight” tells us a fascinating story of a man, whose disturbed character holds you off at first, but then you begin to understand this grim and broken person. It is a simple, but wonderfully told. There is something magical about how this story was told and shown. It is definitely the winner. ” – the jury chairman Boris Khlebnikov commented.
«My thanks and appreciation to the Festival Team and its Director of Programming Alexey Medvedev! It must be admitted that they are real Stoics who fight for cinema and art even (and especially) in such a difficult time. And of course many thanks to all members of the jury and one of my favorite Russian film directors Boris Khlebnikov for letting Atbai to win. I also would like to congratulate the film crew on this victory. Wish you all good health!” – said Adilkhan Yerzhanov.
The film created by “Sunny Production” film company with the participation of “Short Brothers” and “Arizona Productions” had its world premiere at the main competition program of the 35th Warsaw International Film Festival last year.
As a reminder, “Atbai’s Fight” tells the story of a street thug Atbai (Daniyar Alshinov) who decides to take part in MMA tournament, where the winners are already decided. But Atbai is going to win, because for him this victory is a chance to start a new life: to return to the big sport and to get his beloved woman (Dinara Baktybaeva) back. The role of Atbai’s main rival in the ring, the famous fighter Rafael, was played by actor Sanjar Madi. Assel Sadvakassova, who is also an executive producer of “Atbai’s Fight”, appeared in the film as the influential producer of Rafael, Aliya.