WELCOME TO THE USA

Streaming available in the U.S. from 11/12 12:00 AM ET - 11/18 11:59 PM ET. 
Virtual Q&A: 11/15 8PM ET. Link will be sent to ticketed audience.
Co-presented with API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC.

Description

Dir. by Assel Aushakimova
Kazakhstan | 2019 | Drama | 94 min

November 2017, Almaty, Kazakhstan. The country is preparing to celebrate the Day of the First President of Kazakhstan (1st December). Aliya is a 36-year-old Kazakh woman. Aliya for the first time in her life tried to play the Green Card Lottery and won. Now she cannot decide whether to leave Kazakhstan or stay. On the one hand, Aliya is tired of the stagnation, corruption, dictatorship of the Kazakh society; she wants changes in her life. On the other hand, she is afraid of uncertainty and to start all over again in a foreign country.

Director's Statement

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In the film, I intended to reflect my thoughts about emigration from Kazakhstan and the reasons for this process. This is a mass process that the Kazakh authorities prefer not to notice. Any sane person in Kazakhstan, including myself, sometimes thinks about emigration. My second short film THE NEWS was on this topic and I wanted to expand this theme in my feature debut. The main reasons for emigration are stagnation, corruption, passivity, dictatorship, and the homophobia of the Kazakh society.
I wanted to show Kazakhstan nowadays in the film.

How much has the country and society changed since the times of the USSR? The topics of migration from Kazakhstan to Europe and USA, the hidden conflict of society and sexual minorities, the rapid Islamization of society are taboo topics for discussion in Kazakhstan. It is like a deep internal inflammation of modern society, which is carefully covered by thick layer of cosmetics. Our film reveals all these wounds of society. A difficult question of female choice: to live as all or to live as want? Love or Sacrifice? Choose yourself or public opinion? What does it mean the popular term “Freedom"? Is it an illusion of great opportunities or a great responsibility?

Director's Bio

Assel Aushakimova
Pronouns: she/her

Assel is a Kazakh director, screenwriter and producer. She graduated from the International Film Business Academy of the Busan Asian Film School in 2021.  Her first feature film WELCOME TO THE USA had its world premiere at AFI Fest 2019 (New Auteurs). This is the first Kazakh feature film with the protagonist from the LGBTQ community. It was awarded Grand Jury Prize as Best International Narrative Feature of NewFest New York’s LGBTQ Film Festival 2020 and it continues to be screened at many international Queer film festivals. Assel has also written and directed three short films. Her latest short COMRADE POLICEMAN will screen at the FilmFestival Cottbus, the Uppsala International Short Film Festival, PÖFF Shorts. She is currently working on her second feature film project which was selected for the Biennale College Cinema 2020-2021 of Venice IFF.

Virtual Live Q&A

11/15 8PM ET
Director Assel Aushakimova will join us for a virtual live Q&A. Link to the Q&A will be sent to ticketed audience.

Tickets

Single Film Tickets
Streaming available from 11/12 - 11/18.
Including a virtual live Q&A on 11/15 8PM ET.
Regular: $10.00  |  Suggested: $15.00

ALL Access Pass
Access to watch all 10 virtual films from 10/29 - 11/18.
Including full access to all Q&As.

Regular: $40.00  |  Suggested: $50.00

Paying the suggested amount helps us sustain the program. Thank you!

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This film is co-presented with API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC. API Rainbow Parents of PFLAG NYC provides support for LGBTQ individuals and families of Asian heritage, addressing culture-specific needs of the API community.