Kazakh film industry experts are gaining international recognition. 27-year-old cameraman from Kazakhstan Yerkinbek Ptyraliyev is one of them. Colleagues call him an outstanding young professional who has inherited the best traditions of the Soviet movie era and have brought new trends in modern Kazakh filmmaking. Erkinbek’s works have gained recognition in Cannes and at many prestigious film festivals around the world. This autumn, a new movie "One Day at an Orphanage" was released in Kazakhstan. Erkinbek Ptyraliev worked with Serik Abishev and Russian director Ruslan Magomadov on the film.



As our master used to say, we do not choose film directors but film directors choose us. We are like the brides. Cameramen get selected. Cameramen rare have the chance to choose. We sit and wait when we get chosen. I was invited to Istanbul to work with a Turkish film company “Mezelfilm.” They invited me to shoot a feature film. The feature film’s director is Mesut Ceylan.


Erkinbek says that he has never thought of becoming a cameraman. He became interested in fine arts and photography as a child. His interest brought him to Zhurgenev Art Academy where he was taught by one of the best Soviet cameramen Bolat Suleyev. The Master has always said that one becomes a real cameraman only when the movie is noticed by international critics. The film "Masters" directed by Adilkhan Yerzhanov was a high point of Erkinbek’s career. The film was included in the special program of the 67th Cannes Film Festival and received recognition among the critics. The film was nominated for Asia Pacific Screen Awards. It was also named one of 100 best Asian movies.



My first film was recognized at Cannes Festival when I was 23 years old. Many dream of getting there, but I shot a film and went to Cannes straightaway, straight to the red carpet. It was a very exciting moment when they called our names and the soundtrack of our film started playing. My heart was pounding as we walked. There were a million of paparazzi.


During breaks between filming, Erkinbek teaches at the Kazakh National Arts University. This is his first year instructing at the university. Students say Erkinbek is easy going, always tries to convey all the nuances of his profession. But most importantly, he awakens the desire to create great movies.



He taught us a lot - how to shoot simple videos and full-length projects, how to work with the crew and actors. When shooting "Tandau" TV series, he treated us not as students but as his future colleagues. He gave us a script and asked about our personal visions.


Ability to work with light and shadow is the most important skill of a cameraman, Erkinbek says. This is what critics call his strong point. Erkinbek does not just recreate the visual range on screen, but also creates a special atmosphere of presence. This surrealism makes his films enjoyable to watch.



Knowing how to set up a camera isn’t enough.  A cameraman should be able to move with it. It is like a human communication. The ability to create an artistic image by operating the equipment requires real talent and mastery of the craft. Our film industry has just found somebody who can do this. He is famous abroad. It is fantastic! It is quite common when a film director becomes recognized but becoming a famous cameraman is a great achievement.


Without much exaggeration, film critics have high hopes for Erkinbek Ptyraliyev. He has made a name at an early stage of his career, hence he has got a lot of creative achievements waiting ahead of him.

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