||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2009)|
Timur Bekmambetov in March 2012.
|Born||Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov
June 25, 1961
Guryev, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
|Occupation||Film director, film producer, screenwriter|
Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov (Russian: Тиму́р Нуруахи́тович Бекмамбе́тов; Kazakh: Темір Нұрбақытұлы Бекмамбетов; born June 25, 1961) is a Russian director, producer and screenwriter of mixed Kazakh-Jewish origin who has worked on films and commercials. He is best known for the film Night Watch (2004) and its sequel Day Watch (2006), and the American films Wanted (2008) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012).
Bekmambetov was born on June 25, 1961 in the city of Guryev. His father, Nuruahit Bekmambetov, is Kazakh; his mother, Mira Bоgoslovskaya, Jewish. At the age of 19, he moved to Tashkent, Uzbek SSR to study at the Alexander Ostrovsky Theatrical and Artistic Institute, from which he graduated in 1987 with a degree in theater and cinema set design. It was during this period that Bekmambetov served in the Soviet Army, the experience which inspired him to write Peshavar Waltz (see below).
Film and television career
Between 1992 and 1997, Bekmambetov was one of the directors of Bank Imperial's popular World History commercials. In 1994 he founded Bazelevs Group, an advertising and film production, distribution and marketing company.
Bekmambetov's first feature, Peshavar Waltz (1994) was a violent and realistic look at the war between the USSR and Afghanistan. The film was dubbed in English as Escape from Afghanistan and released direct-to-video by Roger Corman in 2002. Bekmambetov next produced and directed an eight-part miniseries for television entitled Our '90s. Bekmambetov then returned to directing features, with the Roger Corman-produced The Arena (2001), which starred Karen McDougal and Lisa Dergan. The film was a remake of the 1974 film of the same name. In 2002, Bekmambetov directed and co-produced (with Bahyt Kilibayev) the film GAZ-Russian Cars.
In 2004, Bekmambetov wrote and directed Night Watch (2004), a popular Russian fantasy film based on the book by Sergey Lukyanenko. The film was extremely successful in Russia, and at the time became its highest-grossing release ever, making US$16.7 million in Russia alone, more than The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The sequel to Night Watch, Day Watch (2006), was likewise written and directed by Bekmambetov. The two films attracted the attention of Fox Searchlight Pictures, which paid $4 million to acquire worldwide distribution rights (excluding Russia and the Baltic states).
Bekmambetov followed up Day Watch with the The Irony of Fate 2 (2007). This sequel to the famous Soviet film The Irony of Fate (1971) is one of the most successful in Russian history, second only to Avatar in total box office receipts.
Bekmambetov's Hollywood directorial debut, Wanted (2008), an action blockbuster about a secret society of assassins, was based on a comic-book miniseries of the same name created by Mark Millar and J. G. Jones.
Bekmambetov has also produced a number of films in the US and Russia. 9 (2009), the story of a rag doll in a post-apocalyptic world, was directed by Shane Acker and produced by Bekmambetov, Tim Burton and Jim Lemley. Bekmambetov also produced the Russian language action movie Black Lightning (2009) with Universal Pictures.
In 2010, Bekmambetov produced and was one of the directors of Yolki a.k.a. "The Six Degrees to Celebration" (English title) which became the second highest grossing Russian movie in Russian box office history. In February 2011 Bazelevs will release the Bekmambetov-produced Vykrutasy (a.k.a. "Lucky Trouble" (English title) starring Milla Jovovich and Konstantin Khabensky.
In 2011, Bekmambetov produced Apollo 18, along with The Weinstein Company, a found footage science fiction thriller, and The Darkest Hour, a science fiction film set in Moscow and produced by New Regency.
In 2013, "Variety" (Russian Edition) named Bekmambetov one of the most commercially successful Russian directors of the decade. He was placed on top of the list ($137.1M Gross) with Fedor Bondarchuk ($53.47M Gross), Sarik Andreasyan ($42.92M Gross), Pyotr Buslov ($42.21M Gross) and Marius Weisberg ($36.85M Gross).