Kazakhstan makes peace with Hollywood after Borat shame

The Telegraph, By Richard Orange

Kazakhstan makes peace with Hollywood after Borat shameFour years after the Central Asian nation banned the film which portrayed its people as backward, anti-semitic misogynists, it is flying in top names from the US movie industry for the first Astana International Action Film festival.

Harvey Weinstein, the US producer; Mike Tyson, the US boxer; and Dolph Lundgren, the Swedish actor and martial arts expert, have all confirmed their attendance, festival director Iren Vanidovskaya announced on Thursday in Astana, the Kazakh capital.

Lawrence Bender, who produced US director Quentin Tarentino’s breakthrough movie, Reservoir Dogs, and Milla Jovovich, the female star of science fiction movie Fifth Element, may be announced as ‘special guests’ closer to the festival opening on June 27.

The festival is the brain-child of Kazakh film director Timur Bekmambetov, who directed Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy in the ultra-violent thriller Wanted.

Mr Bekmambetov, who made his name with a succession of Russian fantasy films, broke into the US industry with the 2001 film “The Arena”, a gladiator movie shot in Moscow, but starring two American Playboy Playmates. Arena went straight to video, but later became something of a cult hit.

He is now working on “Wanted 2”. Kristen Stewart, the star of the vampire film “Twilight”, is rumoured to be replacing Jolie.

The festival is being hosted to mark the 12th anniversary of Astana becoming the country’s capital.

Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America