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Film by Kyrgyz student at Exeter University selected for Cannes

The Void by Aygul Balkanova will premiere on Thursday 15 May at the Théâtre Croisette as part of the Cannes Film Festival programme.

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A short film by a Kyrgyz film student at the University of Exeter has been selected to be showcased as part of Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. Aygul Bakanova’s film ‘The Void’, includes famous actors and is the product of collaboration with the Danish director Milad Alami.

The film takes place on a ferry from Køge to Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea. It features a star-studded cast including Lars Mikkelsen of The Killing, Borgen and Sherlock fame, and Game of Thrones actor Dar Salim. The Void will premiere on Thursday 15 May at the Théâtre Croisette as part of the Cannes Film Festival programme.

Aygul Balkanova said:

Void has become a true experiment for me. Shot in two days on a ferry in the Baltic Sea with a small crew and outstanding cast, Void tells the story of a middle-aged man trapped in his memories. I very much look forward to watching our film on the big screen in Cannes. It must be quite an experience on its own.

The movie was a result of an international scheme to bring together emerging directors in the early stages of their career. The Nordic Factory is a unique residency, workshop and film production concept that pairs up young directors and challenges them to produce a short film with a limited budget, shooting time and editing time. The experience aims to create a platform for the directors to build an international awareness and attention, while giving them an opportunity to showcase their work to potential partners and financiers in Cannes.

Aygul Balkanova is studying for a PhD Film by Practice through the University of Exeter and London Film School doctoral partnership. Supervised by Dr Helen Hanson at the University of Exeter and Peter Gordon at the London Film School, Aygul is developing her PhD project and first feature film, ‘Drifting Snows’ set in her homeland of Kyrgyzstan.

Dr Hanson said:

Aygul is a highly talented young Director and Screenwriter, it is great to see Void, recognised at Cannes. The doctoral partnership is allowing her to develop her PhD project, a feature-length film Drifting Snows. Through Aygul’s development work on the script, ‘Drifting Snows’ is creatively and subtly exploring the shifting experiences, identities and desires of women in contemporary Kyrgyzstan.

Ben Gibson, London Film School (LFS) Director explained the aims of the University of Exeter and London Film School PhD by Practice programme. He said:

From the outset the aim has been to give original and ambitious filmmakers the space and time to develop their ideas and innovate in form without conventional limits. Aygul Bakanova, who made such an extraordinary and widely seen LFS graduation film, and who is recognised by her Cannes selection of her next short in the Directors Fortnight as she enters the second year of her PhD, provides a perfect example of the journey of discovery we’re after.

Published 15 May 2014