Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov
June 25, 1961
Timur Nuruakhitovich Bekmambetov (Russian : Тимур Нуруахитович Бекмамбетов, pronounced [tʲɪˈmurnʊrʊɐˈxʲitəvʲɪt͡ɕbʲɪkmɐmˈbʲetəf] ; Kazakh : Темір Нұрбақытұлы Бекмамбетoв, romanized: Temır Nūrbaqytūly Bekmambetov; born June 25, 1961) is a Russian-Kazakh film director, producer, screenwriter, and tech entrepreneur. He is best known for the fantasy epic Night Watch (2004) and the action thriller Wanted (2008), as well as for the pioneering screenlife films Unfriended (2015), Searching (2018) and Profile (2018). He founded Baselevs, a production company that earned a spot among the 2021 World's 10 Most Innovative Companies in Video, according to Fast Company .
Bekmambetov was born on 25 June 1961, in the city of Atyrau, formerly known as Guriev.His father, Nuruakhit Bekmambetov, worked in management positions with the energy supplier GuryevEnergo. He was chief power engineer of Western Kazakhstan. His mother, Mira Bogoslovskaya, was deputy editor leading the party issues department at the regional newspaper Prikaspiyskaya Kommuna. He has Kazakh ancestry on his father's side, and Jewish ancestry on his mother's side.
After graduation from school, Bekmambetov entered the Moscow Power Engineering Institute in 1979 and left it in 1980, on the eve of the 1980 Summer Olympics. He was deported from Moscow on the grounds of being "unreliable" and moved to Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, to study at the Alexander Ostrovsky Theatrical and Artistic Institute, from which he graduated in 1987 with a degree in theater and cinema set design.
Bekmambetov started his career in the late 1980s as a production designer at the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and at Uzbek national film studio Uzbekfilm.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bekmambetov moved from Uzbekistan to Moscow, where he started making commercials for the Russian market. His commercial series World History, retelling life episodes of the world's prominent rulers (from Nero and Tamerlan to Napoleon and the last Russian emperor Nicholas), is still considered the best video advertising in Russia.In 1994, he founded Bazelevs, an advertising and film production company, in Russia. Its advertising division continues making commercials for major Russian and international brands; in 2021, its commercial featuring Apple's new iPhone in the Hermitage Museum interiors was nominated for the Cannes Lions festival.
Bekmambetov's directorial debut was Peshavar Waltz (1994)depicting the war fought by the USSR in Afghanistan. The film was dubbed in English as Escape from Afghanistan and released direct-to-video by Roger Corman in 2002. In 1998, Corman invited Bekmambetov to direct his production of The Arena (2001) starring Karen McDougal and Lisa Dergan. The film was a remake of the 1974 gladiator exploitation film The Arena.
In 2004, Bekmambetov wrote and directed Night Watch (2004), a Russian fantasy film based on the book by Sergey Lukyanenko. The film was the first Russian production which, after the demise of the Soviet Union, managed to top the domestic box office, making US$16.7 million in Russia alone, thus overtaking The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring . The sequel to Night Watch, Day Watch (2006), was likewise written and directed by Bekmambetov and set a new record for the Russian domestic box office, having grossed more than US$26 million in the first two weeks.The Russian blockbuster epic attracted the attention of Fox Searchlight Pictures, which paid US$4 million to acquire the worldwide distribution rights (excluding Russia and the Baltic states). In 2010, the tape entered the 100 Best Films of World Cinema by Empire Magazine. The film received positive reviews from American directors Quentin Tarantino and James Gunn.
Bekmambetov's Hollywood directorial debut was Universal's action thriller Wanted (2008), an adaptation of the graphic novel series created by Mark Millar and J. G. Jones.Starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman, the action film grossed US$341 million worldwide, became Universal's highest grossing R-rated film, and earned two Oscar nominations.
In 2009, alongside Tim Burton and Jim Lemley, Bekmambetov produced an animation film titled 9 (2009), the story of a rag doll in a post-apocalyptic world, directed by Shane Acker.
In 2011, Bekmambetov produced the science fiction thriller Apollo 18,together with The Weinstein Company, and the science fiction film The Darkest Hour set in Moscow and produced by New Regency.
In 2012, Bekmambetov directed and produced the live-action adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel – Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter,together with Tim Burton and Jim Lemley. He was awarded the 2012 International Filmmaker of the Year award by the National Association of Theatre Owners.
In 2013, Variety (Russian Edition) named Bekmambetov one of the most commercially successful Russian directors of the decade.
In 2016, Bekmambetov directed Ben-Hur, the fifth film adaptation of the novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace.At the same time, he produced the action film Hardcore Henry, directed by Ilya Naishuller, using the perspective of a first-person shooter.
In 2017, Bekmambetov produced the historical drama The Current War starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland and Nicholas Hoult. The film was inspired by the 19th-century war of currents between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.
In 2021, Bekmambetov directed the WW2 action film V2. Escape from Hell, with its aircraft battle scenes using the War Thunder game engine. The film was released in Russia both theatrically as a feature and on a streaming platform as a smartphone-only vertical series.
In 2021, Deadline announced that Bekmambetov would be bringing to the screen a new universe based on the unexploited works in the horror genre by the Marvel Сomics creator Stan Lee.
In December 2022, Timur Bekmambetov sold the Bazelevs film studio in Russia to its general producer, Lala Rustamova, and commercial director, Timur Asadov.Bekmambetov has completely retired from the Russian business, but the studio will continue to cooperate with him as a filmmaker and screenwriter.
Bekmambetov is the pioneer of the Screenlife filmmaking, thus responding to people's life migrating to the digital world of mobile gadgets. In a screenlife film, viewers see the action play out from the POV of the computers, tablets or smartphones used by the characters.
In 2015, Bekmambetov's debut screenlife production, the teen horror Unfriended , was picked up by Universal, grossing $65 million worldwide with a budget of $1 million; three years later, a sequel, Unfriended: Dark Web , appeared.
Bekmambetov followed that up with the 2018 thriller led by John Cho, Searching , grossing more than $75 million worldwide.
In 2019, he produced the ten-episode series Dead of Night for Snapchat, with the story revolving around a viral outbreak that turns people into zombies. It scored over 16 million viewers in the first releasing month, and got extended for the second season.
In 2020, Universal and Bekmambetov inked a deal to partner on five Hollywood features to be made in the screenlife format in various genres.
In 2021, Focus Features released Profile , Bekmambetov's first directorial feature in the screenlife format, where a reporter goes online to catch a Jihadi recruiter to get a story on why and how European women join ISIS. Inspired by the 2015 nonfiction bestseller In the Skin of a Jihadist by a French journalist Anna Erelle, Profile won a 2018 Audience Award by Berlin Film Festival.
Bekmambetov's recent screenlife production, R#J, a Gen Z adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, premiered at Sundance 2021 and won a special prize at SXSW.
The invention of the screenlife filmmaking technique brought Bekmambetov's Bazelevs a spot among Fast Company's 2021 World's Most Innovative Companies.
Bekmambetov is the current owner of the former Walt Disney mansion in Los Angeles.
Bekmambetov is married to the Russian urbanist Natalia Fishman-Bekmambetova, who worked on the restoration of Gorky Park in Moscow and the renovation of the city of Kazan.
In a 2007 editorial about Day Watch in The Guardian , Bekmambetov compared president Vladimir Putin film's "light ones" saying "[Light and dark] doesn't mean good and bad. Dark means freedom and light means responsibility - and, in real life, Putin, for sure, is a light one. He is trying to fix everything, make everything organised somehow. But it's very bad for freedom".
In 2022, Bekmambetov condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and called the boycott of Russian films in the West "emotional, sincere and reasonable".
|2007||The Irony of Fate 2||Yes||Yes||No|
|2012||Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter||Yes||Yes||No|
|2021||V2. Escape from Hell||Yes||Yes||No|
Night Watch is a 2004 Russian urban fantasy supernatural thriller film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and written by Bekmambetov and Laeta Kalogridis. It is loosely based on the 1998 novel The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko.
The Arena is a direct-to-video film from producer Roger Corman on the subject of female gladiators. It is a remake of the 1974 The Arena with Pam Grier. It was shot in Russia by Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov with a Russian crew and it featured Playboy Playmates Karen McDougal and Lisa Dergan, in their feature film debut, playing Amazon slaves forced to be gladiators in a Roman arena.
The cinema of Russia began in the Russian Empire, widely developed in the Soviet Union and in the years following its dissolution. The Russian film industry would remain internationally recognized. In the 21st century, Russian cinema has become known internationally with films such as Hardcore Henry (2015), Leviathan (2014), Night Watch (2004) and Brother (1997). The Moscow International Film Festival began in Moscow in 1935. The Nika Award is the main annual national film award in Russia.
Wanted is a 2008 action thriller film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and written by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, and Chris Morgan, loosely based on the comic book miniseries by Mark Millar and J. G. Jones. The film stars James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common, and Chris Pratt. Its plot revolves around Wesley Gibson (McAvoy), a frustrated account manager who discovers that he is the son of a professional assassin and decides to join the Fraternity, a secret society of assassins of which his father was a member.
The Irony of Fate 2 or The Irony of Fate: Continuation is a 2007 Russian romantic comedy film directed by Timur Bekmambetov based on a screenplay by Aleksey Slapovsky produced by Channel One and released by Mosfilm. It is a direct sequel of the first The Irony of Fate.
Timur Askaruly Kulibay is a Kazakh business oligarch and son-in-law of former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Viktor Alexandrovich Verzhbitsky born 21 September 1959, in Tashkent, Soviet Union is an Uzbekistani-Russian film and stage actor. He is well known for playing mobsters, businessmen, and villains and he is well known for playing the role of Zavulon in the 2004 film Night Watch and its 2006 sequel Day Watch.
The Darkest Hour is a 2011 science fiction action film directed by Chris Gorak from a screenplay by Jon Spaihts and produced by Timur Bekmambetov. The film stars Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, and Joel Kinnaman as a group of people caught in an alien invasion. The film was released on December 25, 2011 in the United States, and grossed $65 million on a $35 million budget.
Bazelevs is a US-based production company founded by Hollywood director and producer Timur Bekmambetov. The company has been producing films such as Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted, The Darkest Hour, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Hardcore Henry.
International Astana Action Film Festival is significant as the only festival of the action film genre. The festival has been held annually in July in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, since 2010. The founder and President of the Astana Action Film Festival is renowned Kazakh director, screenwriter and producer Timur Bekmambetov, and the general director of the festival is Iren Vanidovskaya.
Cinema of Kazakhstan refers to the film industry based in Kazakhstan. Cinema in Kazakhstan can be traced back to the early 20th century. Today, Kazakhstan produces approximately fifteen full-length films each year.
Levan "Leo" Gabriadze is a Georgian-Russian actor and film director. He is best known for directing the 2014 horror film Unfriended.
Ilya Viktorovich Naishuller is a Russian film director and musician. He is known for directing the action films Hardcore Henry (2015) and Nobody (2021). He is also the founder of the film production company Versus Pictures and the indie rock band Biting Elbows.
He's a Dragon or He is Dragon, also in English territories titled as I Am Dragon, and in Germany Dragon: Love is a Scary Tale, is a 2015 Russian 3D romantic fantasy adventure film written and directed by Indar Dzhendubaev and produced by Timur Bekmambetov's company Bazelevs. The two main roles are played by Maria Poezzhaeva and Matvey Lykov. The film is loosely based on Marina and Sergey Dyachenko's 1996 fantasy novel The Ritual.
The Age of Pioneers, also known as Spacewalk or The Spacewalker, is a Russian historical drama film about cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to perform a spacewalk. Leonov himself served as a consultant for the film. The Age of Pioneers was directed by Dmitry Kiselyov and co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov and Yevgeny Mironov, the latter also starred in the leading role.
Unfriended: Dark Web is a 2018 American screenlife horror film written and directed by Stephen Susco in his directorial debut. Shot as a computer screen film, it stars Colin Woodell, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Betty Gabriel, Connor Del Rio, Andrew Lees, Stephanie Nogueras, and Savira Windyani. It is a stand-alone sequel to the 2015 film Unfriended, as none of the previous films' events or characters are mentioned. The plot follows a group of friends who find a laptop that has access to the dark web, only to realize they are being watched by the original owners, a group of cybercriminal hackers.
Screenlife or computer screen film is a genre of visual storytelling where all the events are shown on a computer, tablet or smartphone screen. It became popular in the 2010s with the growing impact of the Internet.
V2. Escape from Hell is a 2021 Russian prison action thriller war biopic film directed by Timur Bekmambetov. The film stars Thure Riefenstein, Pavel Priluchny, Pavel Chinarev and Daria Zlatopolskaya. Based on a true story, portions of Soviet Mikhail Devyatayev's autobiography form the basis of a World War II film produced by Bazelevs Company. The film is the first large-scale vertical format film featuring dynamic aerial combat. Mikhail Devyatayev enrolled at the Soviet Air Forces to fight in the Great Patriotic War. In July 1944, while on a sortie for the 1st Ukrainian Front, his plane was shot down and he was captured by the Wehrmacht. In the most difficult conditions, Devyatayev managed to develop and implement an escape plan from Hitler's heavily guarded Usedom prison, which used prisoners to build the V-2 rocket. The film had a wide release on 29 April 2021.
Timur Turlov is a Russian-born Kazakh entrepreneur and financier. He is the founder of Almaty-based Freedom Finance.
Vasilisa Vasilievna Kuzmina is a filmmaker, screenwriter and actress.