An award ceremony was held at the Cinema House of the Union on November 28 for the participants of the “From Heart to Pen” script development project.

The ceremony of awarding certificates to young screenwriters began with the discussion of the participants’ scripts. The expert chair of the event was shared by the Secretary of the Union, director Ali Isa Jabbarov, film critics Sevda Sultanova and Aygun Aslanli and trainer project, director Javid Zaidov, a graduate of the London Film School.

Afag Yusifli, the head of the project, said, “Although the project started in August, we were thinking in questions 3-4 months before this event.” After having the exact concept, we started looking for a trainer. Fortunately, we met Javid Zaidov and he welcomed  our offer.

Our initial concept was to select applicants over the age of 23 who had some knowledge of the field, screenwriting or writing experience, as well as at least a basic knowledge about it. When we announced the application on August 8, we received 74 submission, considerably more than we expected. Even the 74th applicant was late and registered after the deadline. It was really hard for Javid Zaidov and us to choose among so many participants. Out of 74, 15 of them are invited to the interview stage. 9 of them were successful candidates for our trainings both in Baku and Sheki. 3 people only participated in Baku stage`s trainings. In fact, we defined 7 + 3, 7 days of intensive training in Sheki, 3 days of development training in Baku. But as a result of Javid Zaidov’s efforts, Baku stage lasted more than 3 days.

Afag Yusifli, who is excited to be a head of the project for the first time, said she enjoyed her work sufficiently:

“I hope that all participants are also satisfied with their results. It is pleasing for me to be in this project and I want to thank Ali Isa Jabbarov for this confidence. If there are such projects in the future, I am assertive about this project as a head. I think everything starts with believing. Therefore, I thank everyone who believed that we could carry out this project. I would also like to note that the next stage is even catchier for me now. Being able to see the visual solution of the works that participants tried so hard is really interesting. In fact, directing is “Don’t Tell, Show!” But you had a chance to say first and we worked together on what you said. And now we motivate you to work on what you made ready. Personally, I can say that I am ready to support all of you in your projects. ”

After discussing the scenarios, the experts presented certificates to the participants. Each of them expressed their wishes to them. Film critic Sevda Sultanova recommended young people to be able to say “no”: “First of all, I thank the AUF for adding color to our monotonous lives. As for the participants, I want to share some of my thoughts with them. It is true that we have already made some remarks and notes to you during the discussion, but I want to say that you should make your film as you decide. Be able to say “No”. Because there are times when it is not needed to control emotions. Don’t try to be perfect in your first works. As a matter of fact, you will learn more during shooting process. I wish you success. ”

In his speech, director Ali Isa Jabbarov noted that the event could be the day of the creation of 12 new films: “We are here in the process of sprouting and the birth of perhaps 12 feature films. Writing a screenplay is like digging a hole with a needle. You have to achieve small successes, your 12-page, 25-page material is still your first step, your first letter. I ask for you to take the other steps indefatigably. Our cinema needs it.”

Film critic Aygun Aslanli, who is of the same opinion with Ali Isa Jabbarov, said that writing a screenplay is serious problem in Azerbaijan: Earlier, Afaq said, the film is “Don’t say, show!” But I think we need to know how to say it, that is, to express our opinion in sentences so that we know how to show it. That’s why I think it’s crucial to start with the scenario. ”

Director Javid Zaidov said the following about the project he coached: “Most of our 9 + 3 participants have already completed their scenario. I want to tell them that do your best for making your own film. ”

In the meanwhile, one of the participant, Gunay Salimzade, has already started shooting her upcoming film with the support of the Union which based on a script she developed during project.

After the presentation of certificates, a film about the project was screened for the first time. The film, directed by Orkhan Adigozal, tells the experience and stories of the participants during a week-long training in Sheki.

On the behalf of afterword: AUF plans to hold the project, which was first announced in August 2021, in the coming years.

Izolda Aghayeva Lala