Arsen Bayanov: “Peace, friendship, art unites peoples…”


Arsen Bayanov , a well-known Kazakh writer, director and journalist, shared his experience of writing books, spoke about success in New York and opened the curtain on the filming of a new film for the MIR TV channel. 

1. Arsen, you recently republished your book “Alma-Ata informal”, but how soon will you please your readers with a novelty?

Now I am preparing a volume of prose, since I have been writing for a long time and I have stories, plays. I hope that in February or March we will present it.


2. This is not your first experience in writing books. How did you come to this? Remember that moment when you firmly decided to write your first book?

I was a musician and at the same time studied at the Faculty of Philology and worked a lot as a journalist. My experience in journalism is about 30 years. In parallel, I wrote all sorts of stories, novels. My first novel was published in 1993 in Prostor magazine. This magazine determined the face of literature in any republic, and in Kazakhstan it was the only literary magazine. There was an erotic part in my novel and this caused a scandal in the publishing house, since all the writers and editors were adults, but Soviet people. There were discussions about this, as the young part of the editorial board disputed my right to be published. As a result, I was called to a meeting and asked to remove that erotic part from Roman. I stupidly agreed. When this novel came out, I realized that it was as if I had been castrated, since it did not come out complete.


3. Now book publishing is going through hard times. Is it possible to live only by publishing books?

Probably, it is possible in Moscow or in the West, but not in Kazakhstan. Or only by government order. From my own experience, I can say that this is very problematic. 


4. Is there any formula for publishing a successful book?

There is no formula for success in literature and art. Unless, of course, it’s business literature. When you work in journalism, you write material and think “I am experienced, now he will shoot!”, But he does not find a reader. When I left journalism and started writing my book “Informal Almaty”, it was close to me, this is my life, and as a result, this book has already been reprinted four times and is in demand among the Russian-speaking population, far beyond the borders of Kazakhstan. 


5. What advice would you give to aspiring authors and those who are just thinking about writing their own book?

Writing is an itch, you can’t stop writing. I wrote day and night. Therefore, I advise you to write a lot and believe in yourself. You can get good at journalism, but writing is something else. 


6. Your books and films, more than once, were awarded at the All-Ukrainian competition “Ukrainian Language – Language Day”. How do you feel about international friendship and cooperation in general?

Peace, friendship, art unites peoples, helps to find mutual understanding and friendship. 


7. In 2017, when you were supposed to come to Odessa to be awarded in the competition, you were sent on a business trip to Astana to shoot a film about the legend of American jazz, and a year later your film was shown in New York. Not in vain, did not come?

As part of Expo 2017, a jazz festival was held, where we came to shoot. In one place gathered the super-stars of world jazz. The founder of the festival Grigory Kelberg helped us to come. Of course, the TRK “Mir” in the person of the General Director Askar Alimzhanov contributed to this. We filmed all the concerts, recorded interviews, were at all the backstages. When we edited the film, we decided to send it to the festival in New York, because this is the birthplace of jazz. As a result, on July 13, 2018, the director called me and said that our film was accepted into the competition program. Due to difficulties at the embassy, ​​I was unable to open a visa on time. But our film entered the TOP of the best, and this is a success! 


8. After your film was awarded in New York and was commercially released, how did your Kazakh colleagues react to it?

Some newspapers did interviews with me and announced this news. And some, somehow inadequately reacted, unfortunately, envy exists in our world. If we sent the film to the competition in Kazakhstan or the CIS, then one could still assume that we agreed. But it is impossible to get recognition at the festival in New York from the audience who do not even know where Kazakhstan is located. The official authorities did not react in any way, but we did not send them any official requests. In general, thank you all, the main thing is not to interfere. 


9. Now you are filming a new film, and given your connections with America, is there any desire to target the overseas market?

Now we are shooting a film about the history of the legendary Kazakh jazz ensemble Boomerang, which was one of the best in the Soviet Union. Now in New York they expect drama from us, and there is a lot of drama in this film. 


10. Arsen Bayanov – in 10 years? 

  May God live! (laughs). The Kazakhs have a belief that life repeats itself every 12 years. And I even calculated when I have good and bad periods in my life. I really hope that by then I will have made a few more films and published a few books.

Kristina Journalist

Welcome , my friend! I’m International Journalist and I write travel news, fashion articles and make interview with interesting, public persons from the all world.

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