Letter to the minister of finance mister Samir Sharifov!

Esteemed minister, during you speech in National Assembly you said that in the last two years you had limited the funding for the sake of cinematography in Azerbaijan and that it has already started showing “positive” results. Per your words: “ in the last 2 years private sectors made good movies “.  You are probably referring to the Shami and Shoshu characters when you say “Good movies”… there is no doubt that the goal of these characters are to attract viewers and earn money. Perfectly normal goal…and I am very certain that the creators of those movies had no idea that their work will be an excuse for you to cut funding and consequently take away jobs from movie society! In summary, let us put aside people who make movies and earn money. They do not work with us…albeit, as a professional you should have known that without infrastructure there cannot be business… when there are 50 to 60 movie theaters per 1 million citizens, where as in Azerbaijan for the entire 10 million population there is about 70 movie theaters ( all in the city center ), it is ridiculous to speak of movie business…while we at it, there were hundreds of winter and summer movie theater all around the country which were “owned” to grow national movie industry…where are they now, esteemed minister?

You said that and I quote “ No deputy had been involved in the matter of whether there should be made expensive movies or not “ Why would they, if they, unlike people who just make lists for you, know about accomplishments of our national movies and this is not even a secret…in the last years our national movies had been exhibited in more than 60 countries, participated in 167 international festivals and earned more than 50 awards.

How many fields in our country can boast the same, esteemed minister?

Do you know that our movies that participate in international festivals and earn awards have much bigger expenses than your idea of “expensive movies “? These movies are made with hard work and great sacrifices on the part of its creators.

As demeaning as it is, I must educate you and your colleagues on basics of cinematography. There 3 basic fundamentals of cinematography in the world: Politics (Ideology and representation), economics (infrastructure and business) and art (Creativity and morals)…these 3 fundamentals are integral part of our national movies and are crucial for its growth. Only the correct correlation between these 3 fundamentals can achieve continuous growth of our movies. This is why governments of foreign countries takes care of cinematography by maintaining this correlation and will not let any private sector be deciding element.

There are several models for growth of cinematography in the world and in all of them government is the main contributor…do you know this, esteemed minister?

We believe that, in the light of reforms in the country and creation of new agencies, the very first should have been about cinematography. The results would have been prevention of incompetence and creation of infrastructure that benefits from worldwide experience and has continues progress, as well as aforementioned correlation of politics, economics and art elements. Albeit, this did not happen. Even though professionals in this field voiced their opinions several times.

Your sentence “There has to be straightforward changes” is unclear statement that has been used frequently in the last several years. No matter of the statement, your decision on the funding of our national movies has no promise of any straightforward change!

We urge you to speak not from the commercial point, but from that standpoint of cinematographer’s nature and character….

Huseyn Mehdiyev

Film director, Scriptwriter, Producer

P.S. If you must know, most of my colleagues are in the same opinion

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