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Azerbaijani short film becomes audience favorite at prestigious US film festival

An Azerbaijani short film “A letter to God” by Maria Ibrahimova won the Audience Favorite Award at the prestigious 12th DC Shorts Film Festival on the East Coast of the U.S.

The Audience Favorite Award is a prize given by a vote from the audience. Indeed, the interest in the film was stunning. The venue was so full that that some even elected to sit on the steps in the hall just to catch a glimpse.

Earlier, the US newspaper The Washington Post devoted an article to the film and highly appreciated the unique screenplay. In the publication, the popular paper praised the excellent performance by Azerbaijani People’s Artist Yuriy Baliev, an actor with the Samed Vurgun Russian Drama Theatre in Baku.

The newspaper also highlighted the special aura of the Icherisheher (Old City in Baku) and the film director’s unique talent.

The film was shot as part of the “Three histories” project, realized by the Office of the Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve and supported by Nar Mobile.

The 17-minute drama is about a man, whom upon learning that he’s going to die, decides to write a letter to God.

The idea of shooting the film came to the filmmaker’s mind after reading a story by Israeli writer Marian Belenkiy. She then decided to bring the story to life, adapting “A letter to God” to the atmosphere of the Icherisheher.

Maria also starred in the film and played one of the heroines. “I could not find an actress for this role. So I decided that if I can not find someone who will play the role as I wish, then I will play it myself,” she said. “This is my first experience when I am both behind and in front of the camera. To be honest, it’s very, very difficult.”

From September 10 to 20, Washington will feature some 125 films produced in 24 countries including Azerbaijan, which participated in this impressive festival for the first time.

The films compete in the following categories: Outstanding Live Action Short, Outstanding Animated Short, Outstanding Documentary Short, Outstanding First-Time Director, Outstanding Local Film, as well as Filmmakers’ Choice, Festival Programmer’s Choice, and Audience Favorite Awards.

Maria was born in Moscow, grew up in New York and studied in Paris and Brussels. She moved to Baku after marrying her husband, whom she met while studying in Brussels.

Her first film was “Miss Gulag,” which was filmed in a Russian prison, is about the fate of the three women who went to jail during a difficult time for the country.


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