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Film Screening of “Face the Music”
Link to RSVP here
A screening of a movie about Kazakh Q-pop, “Face the Music,” followed by a discussion with the director, Katya Suvorova. Moderated by UCLA Kazakh instructor Dennis Keen.
“Face the Music” Synopsis
This documentary film from the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan follows national protests over a local boy band called Ninety One, who perform in the genre known as Q-Pop (the Qazaq answer to K-Pop). With their dyed hair, earrings, makeup, and androgynous style, the young artists of Ninety One are challenging conservative standards in a society that still traces its roots to a traditional, nomadic past. As Ninety One grows in popularity, driven by a new generation of Kazakh-speaking youth, their act ignites anger in other sectors of society, leading to major street protests, cancelled concerts, and pressure from the government. As the director Katerina Suvorova explores, the emergence of Ninety One has revealed a whole series of social and cultural conflicts within Kazakhstani society — contradictions between urban and rural culture, between traditionalism and globalization, and between a vertical power system and personal liberty.
Recommended song for listening before watching the film: “Men Emes” by the group Ninety One.
Movie Screening & Zoom Discussion Links
After registering, you will be emailed a Youtube link to watch the film. The film link is available to the first 200 registrants only, and will expire when the online discussion with the director begins. You will also receive a meeting link and ID information to join us virtually via Zoom for the discussion.
You must register first to receive this information. If you do not receive your email confirmation, check your spam or junk mail folders in your email system.
About the Director
Katerina Suvorova is a documentary film director based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Born in the USSR, she studied live-action cinema at the Higher Courses of Screenwriters and Film Directors at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow and at the Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School in Los Angeles. Her short documentaries have been awarded various international prizes, such as the Critics Guild’s Award at the Kinoshok Film Festival and the Special Prize from Robert Bosch Stiftung. Katerina’s previous documentary, “Sea Tomorrow” (2016), was a debut full-length examination of the Aral Sea and the ecological and economic catastrophe that resulted from its destruction. Her film “Face the Music” was released in Kazakhstan in the summer of 2019, presented at international film festivals and nominated for the Russian National Laurel Award as “Best Film of 2019.” Katerina is currently working on a documentary about civic activism in Kazakhstan and about the plights of Kazakh women.
About the Discussant
Dennis Keen is a Central Asia specialist, born and raised in Los Angeles but based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In Spring 2019, Dennis taught two courses as a lecturer in UCLA’s Department of Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures, “Introduction to Kazakhstan” and “Survival Kazakh.” He is the host of the Kazakh TV travel program “Discovering Kazakhstan with Dennis Keen,” the founder of the urbanism blog “Walking Almaty,” and the creator of “Monumental Almaty,” an initiative to document and preserve Soviet-era mosaics and other works of so-called “monumental art” in Kazakhstan. Most recently, Dennis is the author and co-producer of Kazakhstan’s official tourism campaign “Very Nice!”, announced in October in parallel with the release of the latest Borat film.
“Very Nice!” | Kazakh Tourism official new slogan | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRGXq4t9wY4