×

Elizaveta Stishova Offers Rare Big-Screen Glimpse of Kyrgyzstan in Toronto Film ‘Mountain’

A charismatic con man, his two wives and his long-lost son take an unconventional road-trip across Kyrgyzstan in “Suleiman Mountain,” an offbeat and often comic drama that will world premiere in the Discovery program of the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

“Suleiman” is the feature debut of Elizaveta Stishova, a Russian helmer who returned to the rugged Central Asian nation where she lensed a short film and worked as first A.D. on Sadyk Sher-Niyaz’s 2014 historical epic “Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains.”

Their journey takes audiences into a colorful world of folk traditions and shamanistic rituals, offering a rare big-screen spotlight for Kyrgyzstan.

Shooting in the Central Asian nation proved to be a challenge for the Moscow-born helmer who had to hustle to bring pic to completion.

“It’s impossible to get the money to shoot in Kyrgyzstan if you’re Russian,” says Stishova, who struggled to tap European funds and was twice turned down for coin by the Russian government.

Despite the difficulties, she managed to secure private financing to shoot in a country with its own robust filmmaking culture, producing roughly 100 micro-budget movies a year, according to Stishova. The director had to bring in much of her equipment from Moscow but worked with a largely Kyrgyz crew. Pic was cast locally, apart from lead actor Asset Imangaliev, who comes from neighboring Kazakhstan.

Even as she recognizes that the work of a Russian filmmaker will find local critics in Kyrgyzstan, Stishova says she was warmly welcomed in the country, thanks in part to a facility for making herself at home in foreign lands. “I don’t feel any borders between countries,” she says.

More Film

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

  • The Lion King

    Film News Roundup: PETA Sponsors Rescued Lion in Jon Favreau's Name

    In today’s film news roundup, PETA honors Jon Favreau for “The Lion King,” “Tigers Are Not Afraid” gets a theatrical release, a Kirk Franklin biopic is in development and “The Sixth Sense” gets an anniversary showing in Philadelphia. HONOR The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sponsoring a rescued lion to honor director [...]

  • Tokyo Director-in-Focus-at-Japan-Now

    Nobuhiko Obayashi set as Japanese Director in Focus at Tokyo Film Festival

    Indie director, Nobuhiko Obayashi will be feted as the director in focus at the Japan Now section of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will give a world premiere to his “Labyrinth of Cinema.” Supporting his art by shooting commercials, Obayashi is an indie whose dreamy works have influenced numerous other directors in [...]

  • Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Movie

    Jimmi Simpson Joins Russell Crowe Thriller 'Unhinged' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jimmi Simpson will play a key role in “Unhinged,” Variety has learned. He joins an impressive cast that includes Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius. Solstice Studios is producing the psychological thriller, which is currently filming in New Orleans. “Unhinged” centers on a woman named Rachel (Pistorius), who leans on her horn at the wrong [...]

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

  • Javier Bardem Dune

    Javier Bardem in Talks to Play King Triton in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. Harry Styles is also in early talks to play Prince Eric. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • UglyDolls

    STX Tries to Put Flops Behind It as It Searches for Star Executive, Fresh Capital

    After a series of film flops and an aborted initial public offering, STX Entertainment is battling mounting skepticism that it can survive in an increasingly unforgiving movie business. As it hustles to find $500 million in fresh capital, the company, which operates in the red according to financial disclosures, is simultaneously hoping to attract a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content