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Storytelling in Tajikistan: Tradition and Modernity

Storytelling in Tajikistan: Tradition and Modernity

Anisa Sabiri, 12 June 2024 14.00 BST

Anisa Sabiri, a Tajik UK-based filmmaker and producer, will draw on her extensive personal experience to examine the obstacles faced by Tajik artists as they attempt to find a distinctive cultural voice on local and international creative scenes. She will highlight the opportunities that lie in re-engaging with indigenous storytelling methods. 

Sabiri advocates for a reimagined Central Asian narrative, one that positions the region not as a colonial periphery but as a central force in its own storytelling and cultural output. As an advocate for making creative practices in Tajikistan and Central Asia more accessible, egalitarian, and free from colonial legacies, Sabiri is deeply involved in fostering collaborative networks across Central Asian arts and education sectors. Her commitment to the arts extends to her role in developing horizontal-based networks and her active participation in international discussions, including those at the European Film Market and UNESCO among others. This talk is an invitation to explore the rich tapestry of Central Asian culture through the lens of an artist who is at the forefront of redefining its narrative in the global context.

Anisa Sabiri is a London-based filmmaker from Tajikistan, focused on concepts of identity and memory, and a search for an indigenous Central Asian language in cinema. For several years, she worked as a tour guide in the Tajik mountains while building her profile as an avant-garde novelist, photographer and activist, before making her shorts Nolai Tanbur / The Crying of Tanbur (2018) and Az Alla To Vobalam / Rhythms of Lost Time (2021), featured at the Busan International Film Festival, Dokumenta-15, BOZAR, Asian Film Archive and other platforms and festivals worldwide.

Sabiri is also an active promoter of the horizontal-based network in Central Asian art and education. She has been guest lecturing and running workshops for filmmakers with the University of Central Asia, Open Society, Internews, the Institute for War and Peace, and was a speaker at international platforms and events associated with European Film Market, UNESCO, TED Mastercard, Basel Peace Forum.

She holds an MA in Screenwriting from the London Film School with the support of the UK-government CHEVENING Scholarship, from which she graduated with the Outstanding Screenwriting Award in 2021. She is an alumna of the Busan Asian Film Academy, EFM Doc Toolbox-23, and the Sheffield Future Producers School. She is a member of Directors UK and the Documentary Association of Europe.

Her latest articles include A Jewel Form of Storytelling: Reimagining Central Asian Cinema and Persian Poetry: The Rise and Fall of Tajikistan’s Post-Soviet Film Culture.

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