June 9, 2010 Film Producers to Discuss "The Gift to Stalin" at Library of Congress, June 23

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Gail Shirazi (202) 707-9897

“The Gift to Stalin” is a poignant cinematic tale of Sasha, a young Jewish orphan, who is sent into exile during a Stalinist purge, loses his grandfather on the long train journey and is rescued by a gruff, widowed Muslim rail worker named Kasym.

Film producers Boris Cherdabayev and Aliya Uvalzhanova will show selected clips and discuss the film at noon on Wednesday, June 23, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The film clips will be in Kazakh and Russian with English subtitles.

The event is sponsored by the Hebrew Language Table and the European Division at the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Washington Jewish Film Festival and the Embassy of Kazakhstan. A nine-member delegation of film and media professionals from Kazakhstan will attend the event. The producers will be donating a 35mm print of the film and several other films from Kazakhstan to the Library’s collections.

After Kasym rescues Sasha, he takes the boy to his remote village where Sasha becomes part of a surrogate family of other outcasts. Kasym is a Muslim who lives by the tenets of ethnic and religious tolerance. He renames Sasha as Sabyr, meaning “humble of heart” in its Arabic origin, but the older man still preserves the boy’s Jewish identity. What Sasha/Sabyr finds on the lovingly filmed, sweeping Kazakh steppes is more than survival, in a story told through a child’s memories.

Film producers Cherdabayev and Uvalzhanova founded Aldongar Productions/Kazakhstan in 2006. The mission of the production company is to preserve the cultural and historical legacy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The country has a history of tolerance and diversity, as exemplified by the presence of a Jewish community that stretches back 2,500 years.

Aldongar accomplishes its mission primarily through developing and promoting feature films, documentaries, industrial and training films and 3D animations. The company also supports diverse cultural projects and creates video products from Kazakhstan that can compete in the international mass-media market. Aldongar works with partner companies and government agencies, including JSC Kazakhfilm; Astana TV; the ministries of culture, information and defense in the Republic of Kazakhstan; the Eurasian Academy of TV and Radio in Russia; and the Central Chinese TV, CCTV.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 145 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.


PR 10-144
ISSN 0731-3527