List of Kyrgyz submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

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Kyrgyzstan has submitted films to compete for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since 1999. The award is handed out annually by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue.[1]

Kyrgyzstan has submitted ten films for consideration since gaining its independence from the USSR in 1991, but has thus far failed to make it to the final stage of the final five Oscar nominees. The first-ever Kyrgyz film to be submitted for Oscar consideration was The Ferocious One, a Kyrgyz production that was submitted by the USSR in late 1974 to compete for the 1975 Foreign Oscar. In this Russian-language film, a boy convinces his cruel uncle to spare the life of a wolf pup and then raises the wild animal to keep watch over the house.


Every year, each country is invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to submit its best film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Foreign Language Film Award Committee oversees the process and reviews all the submitted films. Following this, they vote via secret ballot to determine the five nominees for the award. Below is a list of the films that have been submitted by Kyrgyzstan for review by the Academy for the award since its conception.

Film title used in nomination Original title Director Language Result
Beshkempir: The Adopted Son Бешкемпир Abdykalykov, AktanAktan Abdykalykov Kyrgyz Not Nominated
The Chimp Маймыл Abdykalykov, AktanAktan Abdykalykov Kyrgyz and Russian Not Nominated
The Wedding Chest Сундук предков Egen, NurbekNurbek Egen Kyrgyz and French Not Nominated
Heavens Blue Тенгри de Ponchville, Marie-JaoulMarie-Jaoul de Ponchville Kyrgyz Not Nominated
The Light Thief Свет-Аке Abdykalykov, AktanAktan Abdykalykov Kyrgyz Not Nominated
The Empty Home Пустой дом Egen, NurbekNurbek Egen Kyrgyz, Russian and French Not Nominated
Queen of the Mountains[2] Курманжан Датка Sher-Niyaz, SadykSadyk Sher-Niyaz Kyrgyz Not Nominated
Heavenly Nomadic[3] Сутак Abdykalykov, MirlanMirlan Abdykalykov Kyrgyz Not Nominated
A Father's Will[4] Atanyn Kereezi Mukul, BakytBakyt Mukul and Uulu, Dastan JaparDastan Japar Uulu Kyrgyz Not Nominated
Centaur[5] Kentavr Abdykalykov, AktanAktan Abdykalykov Kyrgyz

The first five films are stories about life in rural Kyrgyzstan, and all were co-produced with funding from French production companies.

The first two films - Beshkempir, The Adopted Son and The Chimp - were written and directed by Aktan Abdykalykov (now known as Aktan Arym Kubat), and star his teenage son Mirlan Abdykalykov. Both films are coming-of-age dramas about life in the rural north of the country. Beshkempir is the story of a 13-year-old boy who finds out that he is adopted, while The Chimp is a grimmer story about a 17-year-old in Soviet-era Kyrgyzstan living in a poor, industrial town before being drafted into the Soviet army. The Light Thief, a comedy about a man who "steals" electricity from the national grid to provide to his poor village, was also written and directed by Abdykalykov, and features the director in his first leading role.

The Wedding Chest and Tengri (aka Heavens Blue) were culture clash dramas. In Wedding Chest, a young Kyrgyz man returns home from his studies in France, with a beautiful French fiancée in tow. His fiancée is warmly welcomed by the village and captivated by the beauty of the region, but the man stubbornly refuses to tell his family that the two are engaged. In Tengri, a Kazakh man runs away with a married Kyrgyz woman whose abusive muhajadeen husband has just returned from Afghanistan.

Beshkempir was the first movie from independent Kyrgyzstan to win awards at major international film festivals including Locarno and Tokyo. A Father's Will won the prize for Best First Film at the 2016 Montreal World Film Festival.

Beshkempir also became the first Kyrgyz movie to be released on DVD in the United States in 2000, while The Chimp and Tengri got an English-subtitled DVD release in Hong Kong. The Wedding Chest was released on DVD in Russia with no English subtitles.


  1. ^ "Rule Thirteen: Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  2. ^ "‘Kurmanjan Datka’ Reps Kyrgyzstan in Oscar Race". Variety. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Holdsworth, Nick (23 September 2015). "Oscars: Kyrgyzstan Submits 'Heavenly Nomadic' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Oscars: Kyrgyzstan Selects 'A Father's Will' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Holdsworth, Nick (20 September 2017). "Oscars: Kyrgyzstan Selects 'Centaur' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 September 2017.