Pomegranate Orchard

The downbeat Azeri drama “Pomegranate Orchard” from Armenian-born director Ilgar Najaf is a deliberately paced tale with a visually mannered style that keeps viewers at arm’s length and distances them from the full impact of the tragic proceedings. Set in rural Azerbaijan, it revolves around the return of a prodigal son with ulterior motives whose reappearance in the bosom of his family after a 12-year absence significantly changes their way of life. Further festival travel is possible, but programmers will likely find it less charming and engaging than Najaf’s previous feature, “Buta” (2012).

Aging Shamil (Gurban Ismayilov) is becoming too infirm to maintain the family pomegranate orchard, which has long been his pride and joy and whose saplings are highly valued by other growers. There are many who would like to buy him out, but the old man refuses all offers.

Production: (Azerbaijan) An AzerbaijanFilm, Buta Film production, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Republic of Azerbaijan. (International sales: Buta Film, Baku). Producers: Mushfug Hatamov, Ilgar Najaf. Executive producer: Akif Aliyev.

Crew: Director: Ilgar Najaf. Screenplay: Asif Rustamov, Ilgar Najaf, Roelof Yan Minneboo. Camera (color, HD): Ayhan Salar. Editor: Elmir Hasanov. Music: Firuddin Allahverdi.

With: Gurban Ismayilov, Ilahe Hasanova, Semimi Farhad, Hesen Aghayev.

international title: Pomegranate Orchard
original title: Nar baği
country: Azerbaijan
year: 2017
genre: fiction
directed by: Ilgar Najaf
film run: 90′
screenplay: Asif Rustamov, Ilgar Najaf, Roelof Yan
cast: Ilahe Hasanova, Semimi Farhad, Gurban Ismayilov, Hesen Aghayev
cinematography by: Ayhan Salar
film editing: Elmir Hasanov
music: Firuddin Allahverdi
producer: Mushfug Hatamov, Ilgar Najaf
production: Azerbaijanfilm (AZ), Buta Film (AZ)



  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic) – Nominee East of the West – World premiere
  • Eurasia International Film Festival (Kazakhstan) – Main Competition; Best Actor, Winner Special Jury Diploma
  • Film by the Sea Film festival (Netherland) – Main Competition, Nominee Film and Literature Award
  • Heartland Film Festival (USA) – Foreign Language Best Picture Contender
  • Asian World Film Fest (USA) – Main Competition
  • Inverness IFF (Scotland) – Cinema of the World
  • Minsk International Film Festival Listapad (Belorus) – Main Competition; Best Screenwriter, Best Actor Diploma
  • Arras Film Festival (France) ­– Visions de l’Es
  • Cottbus Film Festival (Germany) – Main Competition
  • Malatya International Film Festival (Turkey) – Main Competition; Winner Best Film-Crystal apricot
  • International film festival of India (Goa, India) – World cinema
  • Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt) – Main Competition
  • Antakya International Film Festival (Turkey) – Main Competition; Best Actress
  • Tallinn black nights (Estonia) – Official program
  • International Film Festival of Kerala (India) – Main Competition
  • Tbilisi IFF (Georgia)- European Forum
  • Bozar Bridges. East of West Film Festival (Belgue) – Official program
  • Sofia Menar (Bulgaria) – Main competition
  • Bengaluru IFF (India) – NETPAC collection
  • Goteborg IFF (Sweden) – Five Continents
  • IFF of Thrissur (India) – Global Cinema
  • Let’s see (Austria) – Discoveries
  • Fajr IFF (Iran) – Eastern vista
  • Moscow IFF (Russia) – Spectrum
  • Habitat IFF (India) – NETPAC award winners program
  • Tiburon IFF (USA) – Main competition
  • SEEFest (USA) – Main competition – Best Feature Film – Grand Jury Prize
  • Imaginindia (Spain) – Main program
  • Hanoi IFF (Vietnam) – Panorama
  • Shanghai IFF(China) – Panorama
  • European Film Festival Palic (Slovenia) – Black Sea Region in Focus
  • Kazan International Festival of Muslim Cinema – out of competition
  • Lublin International Film Festival (Poland) ­– Grand Prize for the Best Feature Film
  • Didor International Film Festival (Tajikistan) –Grand Prize for the Best Feature Film


  • North American Film Academy Award (Oscar) – official entry of Azerbaijan
  • APSA – Winner – Young Cinema Award
  • Golden Arch – Eurasia Academy Award – official entry of Azerbaijan
  • European Film Academy Award nominee recommendation 2018



Trailer Pomegranate orchard from Buta Film on Vimeo.