London’s film buffs awaken to Azerbaijani contemporary cinema
Press Release: The launch of the inaugural Azerbaijan London Film Festival (ALOFF) took place on 1 November, culminating with a Gala Screening of Ilgar Safat’s acclaimed The Precinct at the Shortwave Cinema in London.
Organised by the Azerbaijan Intercultural Society (AZICS), sponsored by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), and supported by Your Frontier Film Productions and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the festival will showcase some critically acknowledged Azerbaijani feature films and documentaries. Held across three locations from 1–4 November, ALOFF screenings will be complemented by discussions and an exhibition of artworks by London-based Azerbaijani artist Naile Zulfuqarova.
At the opening, H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, said: “Cinema played a tremendous role in 20th Century culture across the world, and this was certainly the case in Azerbaijan. Many films have remained in the hearts and minds of the people. Since Azerbaijan regained its independence 21 years ago, there have been great technological developments in the industry. ALOFF represents a great opportunity to introduce Azerbaijani culture to London, and will enable audiences to understand our nation.”
Aynur Asgarova, Chief Advisor, Cinematography Department, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, stated: “This is a very significant event, as we are screening a range of feature films and documentaries made since Azerbaijan regained its independence to a new audience.”
Sabina Rakcheyeva, Arts and Cultural Advisor, TEAS, commented: “Over the past four years, TEAS has been promoting Azerbaijani culture in the UK. However, until now we haven’t showcased the rich history of Azerbaijani cinema. This is an important opportunity to introduce another cultural genre to UK audiences.”
Sanan Aliyev, Chair, Azerbaijan Intercultural Society, commented: “In the Azerbaijani language, ALOFF means ‘flame’, symbolising the spirit of the country. One listings paper in London wrote about ALOFF and commented ‘welcome to the new kid on the block’. I am delighted that London’s film culture is now prepared to welcome us. I am hoping that ALOFF will give an opportunity for UK audiences to see the other side of Azerbaijan. Many cinephiles are not aware of the great current and past Azerbaijani directors, and the wonderful nature that is to be found in Azerbaijan.”
For more information, visit www.aloff.org